Finding out

Finding out

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



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

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

Let’s say you’ve just been rejected. After all your work and followup, the prospect just said “no” and chose the competition. Rats.

Most salespeople walk away blaming one thing or another like unreturned phone calls, price too high, inside connections the usual gang of excuses. Funny, in my 22 years of training salespeople no one has ever said to me, “Jeffrey, I didn’t make the sale and it’s all my fault.”

Consider these two facts:

1. During the sales courtship the prospect often won’t tell you the real reasons (objections) for saying “no”.

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 from you, either and feels awkward or embarrassed to say “no,” so he just stays incommunicado.

Prospects will give you “no” signals…

The party is usually over when the customer tells you things like…the budget, the cash flow, 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.”

Congratulations you have just entered the “no” zone.

A salesperson will do every dance in the book to get the truth out of a prospect during the sales process. And most of the time not get it.

Soooooooo… your best advantage comes about AFTER the answer “no” is uttered. You see, 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 to you for the “final” time, the tension is over the salesperson can now ask for the real reason, and 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. Cool.

Success tactic: Use a twenty first century version of the lost sale close (act defeated). Get back in the prospect’s office within 48 hours of rejection and say: 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 strategy, 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 your company’s weaknesses.

Learn of your 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.

Get the truth you couldn’t get during the sales dance.

To have one small chance to revive the sale.

You can win by losing. Even if you can’t get this prospect to purchase, the information you have gathered will help you sell 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, and find out why 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.

FREE GitBit… The Seven Classic Steps to Overcoming an Objection. The best method of uncovering and overcoming the true objection is yours free. Just go to click Free Stuff the click GitBit register and enter the secret word, “OBJECTION”.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to

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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/3331112