The most dangerous word in sales

Posted by Ryan Neu

Feb 15, 2013, 7:51 AM

Game. Set. Match. In sales, the word 'yes' is incredibly dangerous. Some will argue that the word yes expresses affirmation, which in turn, leads to an eventual sale. Sales people always get caught up in the word yes and most often, it leads to nothing but Closed Lost. Here's why.

 

 
 
 
 
"Yes" is lazy

The easiest thing a prospect can say is "yes". Saying yes is the easiest way to silence a sales person. If you say no, the sales person will generally ask follow-on questions. When you hear the word "yes" in sales, make sure to muffle your happy ears and dig a little bit deeper. Complement the prospect's affirmation with a follow-on question that includes a commitment of action to advances the sales process. For example:
 
"That's great that you see the value in this tool. What would this mean for your bottom-line?"
 
This follow-on question will ignite a discussion about the actual value of your product versus ending the discussion after you received the forbidden fruit of "yes". 
 
 
 
"Yes" will lead you on

Influencers and internal champions love the word yes (and keep in mind, internal champions are my homeboy). People that love to express affirmation, are oftentimes not actually listening to you. Maybe they are distracted, confused, or uninterested. Or, maybe they are too shy to say that they do not understand what you are saying. If you take "yes" at face value, you are likely to lose control of the sales process at some point. Remember, try to challenge the prospect and get a real understanding of their pain points and potential consequences. If you receive affirmation, do not be afraid to ask the simple question, "why?". 
 
 
 
"Yes" is afraid to break up with you

It's not you, it's me. Really. Prospects that continuously say "yes" are oftentimes too afraid to say no. Getting a prospect to say "no" is incredibly beneficial to you. "No" will allow you to either get off of the phone or it will allow you to uncover obstacles in the sales process. "No" will allow you to identify a problem and seek a potential resolution. If you can't seek a resolution, nbd...you can go your separate ways. 
 
 
 "Yes" will break your heart if you aren't careful. Asking follow-on questions will help you overcome shallow affirmations and will allow you to spend time on the right prospects versus spinning your wheels with people who are afraid to commit.
 
That being said, will you say "yes" and let us help you manage your sales pipeline?
 
 

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