Changing a Negative to a Positive

Michele Warg
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For sales professionals, rejection is a part of the game. Whether the buyer refuses your offer outright or puts you off with a vague excuse, negative responses have the potential to end the conversation. With the right strategies, you can turn a "no" into a "yes" and boost your sales call success rate.

Anticipate Negative Responses

Before you make a sales call, take time to anticipate all of the reasons the customer might have for saying no. Then, figure out how to address them, and build those reasons into your pitch. If buyers frequently use your higher-than-average price as a concern, for example, mention a unique feature that increases ROI by 25 percent over your competitors' products. This proactive approach eases the customer's fears and reduces the likelihood of rejection.

Practice Empathy

Specific objections are a sign that the buyer has taken time to consider their need and your solution. Respect this effort by practicing empathy during each sales call. Listen carefully to the other person, and allow them to express all of their reservations. Then, validate their concerns to ensure they feel heard and understood. By adopting a caring, realistic mindset instead of glossing over the buyer's very real worries, you can set yourself apart from salespeople that employ a stereotypical, overly smooth pitch.

Ask for Clarification

In some cases, a customer uses a surface-level concern to mask a deeper problem. If you don't have a comprehensive picture of an issue during a sales call, ask for clarification. Use open-ended questions to encourage the buyer to talk, and listen for things that hint at serious pain points. This strategy does several things. It positions you as a great listener, gives you a clear idea of the company's position, and provides valuable information that you can use to help eliminate risk in the purchasing process.

Eliminate Obstacles

Once you understand a customer's concerns, use the remainder of the sales call to systematically eliminate each concern using anecdotal evidence and solid numbers. Don't be afraid to use other customers as case studies. If a buyer is concerned about the scope of implementation, explain how you helped a similar-sized company handle the process without disrupting production. Whenever possible, frame your product or service as a natural solution to the customer's problems. Tone is important — aim for a style that's confident and knowledgeable without being pushy to keep customers at ease.

The best sales professionals rarely accept a "no" at face value during a sales call. Instead, they view it as an opportunity to draw a customer into a deeper conversation about products and solutions. With practice and a careful plan, you can skillfully turn objections into positive responses that boost your profits.

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