Finding out “why” is easiest after you lose the sale.

Finding out “why” is easiest after you lose the sale.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The sales dance. The prospect is as nervous about telling you NO as you are to find out if it’s YES.

You often find yourself in a situation where you must convert a “no” atmosphere into a sale. The best time to do this is after the sale has been lost.

This may seem a bit backwards, but consider these two facts:

  1. The prospect often won’t tell you the real reasons (objections) for saying “no” during the sales courtship.
  2. The prospect may not feel comfortable, doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, or doesn’t feel he owes you an explanation but doesn’t want to buy either, and feels awkward or embarrassed to say “no.”

Prospects will give you “no” signals…

  • The party is usually over when the customer tells you things like…the budget, the board, the home office, the partner, call me next week.
  • Phone calls don’t get returned.
  • Proposals get delayed. And delayed.
  • My favorite is when they say “Call me on Tuesday at 10:00am.” You call like a faithful dog on the dot of ten (having anticipated the moment for several days) and his secretary says, “He’s on vacation today.”

Success tactic: Here’s a way to never let that happen again: Get the prospect to mark his calendar at the appointed time (or it’s a shallow, worthless promise just like the person who made it).

A salesperson will do every dance in the book to get the truth out of a prospect during the sales process. But your best advantage comes about after the answer “no” is uttered. After “no”…

  • The anticipation is over.
  • The nervousness is over.
  • The games are over.
  • The lies both blatant and “white” have all been told.

Once the word NO has been said for the final time, the tension is over. The salesperson only has to ask for the real reason to get it.

Only after “no” can you get down to the truth, find out what really happened, find out the real reason the sale was lost, and maybe even have a way to get back in and make the sale.

Success tactic: Use a version of the lost sale close (act defeated). “Now that it’s over, Mr. Prospect, I wonder if you would mind helping me a little.

I sell these copiers for a living, and my family has grown accustomed to eating (smile). I was certain our product was the best for your application, and I still don’t understand why you didn’t purchase. If you could share with me the real reason you didn’t buy it would help me get better, and perhaps help the next person in a way that I was unable to help you.” (For those of you that “already know everything” and doubt the validity of this tactic, just try it a few times you can’t lose a sale more than once.)

The prospect is now more likely to tell the truth at this point (moment of weakness). You will be able to use the truth to your advantage in a number of ways:

  • To put the prospect in a superior position as friend, helper, and mentor.
  • To learn of competitive weaknesses.
  • Learn of company weaknesses.
  • Learn of personal weaknesses.
  • To learn the value of relationships (the ones others have that you wish you had).
  • To have an opportunity to get back into the sale by offering a solution.

You can win by losing. Even if you can’t get this prospect to purchase, the information you have gathered will help you get the next one. Every time you lose a sale get the real reason you lost it…after it’s over.

If you lose 100 sales a month, at the end of a year you’ll have 1,200 lost sale reasons and attempts to gain them back. If you’re successful only 5% of the time, that’s another 60 sales a year. If you don’t think it’s worth the effort, call me. I’ll take them.



The Seven Steps to Overcoming an Objection. The best method of getting and overcoming the true objection is yours free. Just go to click Access GitBit in the top right corner, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word OBJECTION in the search box.