We mentioned in last week’s blog post that the sales process can involve rejection or objections from prospective customers. And in this blog, we’ll look at how to deal with this by exploring the other side of the “No” coin for small business owners: empowerment!
If a customer asks you for a discount or for a lower price, it could mean they don’t VALUE your product or service – which may actually be YOUR FAULT as the business owner for not educating your market well enough. On the other hand, there are occasions when you can offer a lower price but don’t make it your everyday approach.
Your mission as a small business owners is to overcome objections in order to get the sale. Make it smaller, change the location or reduce the timescale. Do whatever it takes to turn the initial “No” to a “YES!”…except lower your price.
Competing on price is not a sustainable strategy for small business owners and there are many reasons why I am against this approach – this is a whole blog post in itself and I’ll save that for another time. When a potential customer tries to chip away at your price, this is where the meaning of “No” changes from being negative to positive.
Let me tell you a story that will explain this: a business owner I know was once negotiating a sale with a customer, who had asked my friend to lower his price, to which he replied, ‘ the only way I can provide this service at the price you want is to miss bits out of the training course or to make it 4 hours long instead of 6 hours long’.
After a bit of resistance, the customer relented and my friend got the sale at the price he wanted because he stuck to his guns, knew his value and refused to comprise on that. When was the last time you said “No” to a current or potential customer?
You can’t unlearn your knowledge or experience so if this is what your customers are paying for, they need to pay full price for this. This is something a lot of business owners struggle with and the result for them is not good.
Are You A Busy Idiot?
Saying “Yes” or not saying “No” in certain types of situations, can have detrimental effects on your business. They can make you a busy idiot – doing lots of work for people that you don’t want to work with. This also means you can’t do any work for people you do want to work with or on more profitable projects, as you’re too tied up on these low value, time-consuming ones.
However, by saying “No”, which is always tough as a business owner when you have bills to pay, will avoid these situations. At an emotional level, this will liberate you, saving you from resenting the work you love and avoiding dealing with problem customers – you know the ones I mean, the ones that you hate contacting you!
Opportunities Vs Distractions
The final facet of “No” is that the more ‘successful’ you become, the more people want you. Will you join my Board? Can we have a meeting? Would you like to volunteer with us? Whilst all of these could represent opportunities, they may also be distractions – taking you away from your ultimate goal.
As Steve Jobs (the late Apple co-founder) once said, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things”. Unless you man/woman up and say “No”, such incidents will drag you away from achieving your mission!
You can do simple things to avoid this: before EVERY meeting, establish what its purpose is and what you want out of it. So the next time someone asks you for a meeting, ask them, what they want from you. You may feel awkward asking this or as if you’re letting others down; you may even be a “Yes” person, but there are times when you also need to be a “No” person.
Ultimately, your time is your most precious resource as an entrepreneur, and if you’re constantly doing the biding of others, you’ll never get your own work done. Being single-minded and ruthless with your time by saying “No” is sometimes required.
“No” can mean rejection and letting others down or it can mean a chance to review how you’re doing things, reinforce your own value and liberate yourself from time thieves. Used correctly, it can really help you to achieve your goals. Its true meaning is up to you but hopefully you’ll substitute “try again” for “No” in future. Don’t forget, saying “No” is also a very empowering position to be in, try it!