The truth – even if it hurts – will make you more sales.

The truth – even if it hurts – will make you more sales.

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 truth – even if it hurts – will make you more sales.

Dear Jeffrey; I am responding to your article that Iread weekly in the Business Journal and want your feedback in an areathat most disturbs me in the sales process.

I work for an Internet start-up. What bothers me mostis the end of the unsuccessful sales process. After long, involved andexpensive prospect touting which includes multiple meetings, technicalpersonnel being flown in from visiting cities, dinners and such, Ioften find a NO answer with no explanation.

I attempt to plea for honest feedback that will allowme either to realign my offering and/or receive good information thatwill allow me to benefit in my next prospect negotiations, and all Iget is a lame excuse (lie) that has no resemblance to a reason not tobuy.

While I realize that this is not a requirement from myaccount I would have figured that four to fives times of multi-hourmeeting would of produced a respect level, or better yet, produced anevolved relationship where the fear of confrontation is not the primaryobstacle. The reality is that I leave without the real reason for myfailure to close the sale.

In the rare instances when I do received an honestresponse (usually from a someone who is self-assured and has character)it is the best feedback I EVER receive, and I know that thisinformation greatly assists me in the field in re-positioning my salesstory and being more effective.

Your thoughts?
Best Regards, Global Account Executive

Losing the sale is a multiple blow. Blow to your quota, blow to your ego, blow from the competition, and a blow to your wallet.

The BIG picture – In order for a sale to take place the prospectmust like you, trust you, have confidence in you, and believe you -then they MIGHT do business with you. And therein lies the paradox: Ifyou lose the sale and ask them “why”.
They are NEVER going to tell you that they don’t like you.
They are NEVER going to tell you that they don’t trust you.
They are NEVER going to tell you that they don’t have confidence in you.
They are NEVER going to tell you that they don’t believe you.It’s a tough issue – and if the prospect is unwilling to talk after the sale – that may be a statement in itself.

Here are a few more reasons for “no,” and no explanation:

  • They are embarrassed – they may have lied to you during the process, and are now not willing to reveal the truth.
  • They don’t have a good reason.
  • They’re not willing to tell you the truth.
  • They may get in trouble (some policy or boss or secret relationship).
  • Stronger relationship elsewhere.
  • Price.
  • They feel it’s none of your business.
  • They’re just a jerk. Here are some ideas on how to get positive information, even if the answer to the sale is no:
  • Set up the truth in advance – make an agreement at the startof the process that if you lose the sale, they will still reward youwith the truth as to why.
  • Ask leading, but specific, questions – “What area of theprice was your prime deterrent?” or “What about the machine’s functioncaused you to doubt the reliability?” or “How did we fall short next toXYZ Corp?”
  • Avoid confrontation – the friendlier you are, the more of a “truth” chance you’ve got.
  • Ask for the answer to one element: “One thing that I don’t understand,.”

    SALES FACT OF LIFE: People listen to facts then decide on emotion.Emotion plays a big role in telling the truth either before or afterthe event. You can ask for facts – but listen to the emotion.

    CAUTION: “Where did we go wrong,” or “How could we have donebetter” are bad questions because they lead to general answers – andnot necessarily truthful answers. Ask specific questions that draw onfact rather than emotion, then slip in emotion along the way

    DEEP DARK SECRET: Here’s a technique you can try: Ask aquestion, get an answer, then ask “why” five times. It will get youcloser to the truth

    THE FINAL UH OH: The real truth is the one that may hurt themost: sometimes you don’t have to ask.There is no second prize in sales – BUT there is a consolation prize: Atruthful answer from your prospect as to why you lost it. If youcollect enough consolation prizes, I promise you will win more firstprizes.

    Free GitBit… Want a complete list of the real reasonspeople say no? The reality of these “objections” will help you evaluateyour sales skills. Just go to – click FREE STUFF thenGitBit – register and enter the secret words, “REAL OBJECTIONS”.

    Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and CustomerSatisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President ofCharlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual salesmeetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customerservice. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail

    c 2002 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think aboutreproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H.Gitomer and Buy Gitomer o 704/333-1112