Sometimes in sales we like to hold out hope that just because someone hasn’t said “no” to us, they’ll eventually turn into a “yes.” And sometimes that happens. But in nearly every case, it’s probably better to get the hard no now, instead of taking “maybe” for an answer — for months or years — and never knowing if or when things will change.

Here’s a news alert that reeks of the obvious. Not every prospect is going to buy from us.

Some will buy now, some will buy later and some will never buy from us. I mean never, at all. Ever.

This is reality. And it’s not even a harsh reality or a bad reality. It’s just reality. When we realize this, we can focus on selling those who want to buy now, scheduling those who want to buy later, and eliminating those who will probably never buy at all.

Get the hard no. It’s not permanent.

People can change their minds and so can we. But when we get a hard “no,” it means we’re not calling. We’re not “following up.” We’re not “checking in.”

When you’re able to eliminate — whether temporarily or permanently — the uninterested, indecisive, non-buyers, you naturally free up your time to interact with the interested, decisive buyers. But it goes way deeper than that.

When I talk to a prospect, and I know I can help that person, I tend to become emotionally invested. I want them to succeed. I want them to achieve the results they want in their lives and in their businesses. I want to help.

But it doesn’t matter what I want.

If they don’t see the value or can’t see the value… or if they don’t think it’s worth the money, then I can’t help them. And I can be okay with either of those scenarios — whether they decide to move forward or whether they decide not to move forward. But, I need them to make the call.

If they don’t, I’ll be thinking about them. “I wonder if they’re going to do this, I know it would help them, but I can’t want it for them more than they do.” And they’ll be thinking about me “I wonder if I should do this, it sounds really good, but I’m not sure if I should spend the money.” As a result, we both have unfinished business, which clutters the mind and distracts focus from the most important work, for absolutely no reason at all.

So lately, to get the hard no I’ve been asking people for it more directly.

“Look, if you want to work together, let’s do it. If not, you need to give me a hard “no.” Because otherwise, we’ll both be thinking about this and that’s not good for anyone.”  In my experience, the reason most people don’t want to go for the hard “no,” is that they don’t have enough leads in their pipeline. They’re afraid if they turn a bunch of those who said “maybe” into a “no,” they’ll have no one to sell to.  Actually, the opposite is true.

When you clear out all the mental and emotional baggage associated with talking repeatedly with people who are either unwilling, unable or totally incapable of making a yes or no decision, it’s incredibly freeing. Talking to the indecisive on a consistent basis is both exhausting and unfulfilling, because you get no closure.

And while you may not like hearing “no” from a prospect, you’re far better off hearing “no” once than hearing “maybe” fifty times in a row, over an extended period of time, from the same person.

So the moral of the story is: get the hard no.

If you’re tired of flat or declining sales and losing business to your competitors, go to and book an appointment for a complimentary strategy session today.

I’ve set aside some time over the next few days to speak with you personally, and help you get crystal clear on three things:

First, identifying exactly the market you want to dominate. Second, looking at where you are now vs. where you want to be in terms of visibility, sales and profits and third, examining the next simple steps to make it happen.

Remember, market domination is not about control. It’s about creating an environment in which the very best prospects for your products and services know who you are, and know what you do, so they can choose to do business with you instead of your competitors.

If you’re happy with the status quo, this is definitely not for you, but if you’re serious about creating top of mind awareness and dominating your market, go to and schedule your appointment today. That’s

Are you ready?

Whenever you’re ready… here are the five primary ways we help promotional product distributors:

  1. Just Getting Started? If you (or someone on your team) is just getting started in promotional products sales, learn how we can help.
  2. Need Clients Now? If you’re already grounded in the essentials of promotional product sales and just need to get clients now, click here.
  3. Want EQP/Preferential Pricing? Are you an established industry veteran doing a significant volume of sales? If so, click here to get End Quantity Pricing from many of the top supplier lines in the promo industry.
  4. Time to Hire Salespeople? If you want to grow your promo sales by hiring others, click here.
  5. Ready to Dominate Your Market? If you’re serious about creating top-of-mind-awareness with the very best prospects in your market, schedule a one-on-one Strategy Session here.

    2 replies to "Get the Hard No in Sales"

    • Dave Cox

      As always, you do a great job with all of your topics! I first heard you down at the Kaeser and Blair convention, or as Dick Kaeser used to say, “The Reunion.” This my friend was many, many years ago and you were good even then! Keep up the good work guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.