There are times when it becomes obvious a particular merchant isn't going to sign, and the sale will not close on the appointed day, if ever. At this point a merchant level salesperson has a decision to make: walk away and close the door or walk away but leave the door open. The question is how does one decide?
In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green encourages leaving the door open as a general rule if a deal doesn't close. "If you find out that the person you've pitched doesn't have signature authority, or is unable to make a commitment now, don't close the door on future opportunities," he wrote. "Set a specific date for a follow-up call. Get the name of the decision maker. Send a thank you and follow-up material, and calendar your meeting or follow-up call."
But then, there are situations in which rules of thumb do not apply. In "Avoid 'always be closing' and other old traps," The Green Sheet, Aug. 9, 2010, Jeff Fortney warned against spending too much time on "maybes" and getting your hopes up when merchants ask you to leave literature behind and come back another time, but are unwilling to set a date for a follow-up meeting.
"When you return, you find merchants are either busy or out," he wrote. "You go back again, and this time they are in but haven't looked at what you left, or are still busy. … Simply put, these situations often destroy a sales effort. And worse, they provide false hope to the salesperson of closing the deal. The majority of these merchants are not likely to sign with you no matter how many calls you make. In fact, the lost time spent chasing them could have been spent chasing merchants who were true prospects."
He encouraged agents to not be afraid to let a merchant know it's OK to say no. "Emphasize that you don't want to be that pest who makes them want to hide when they see you come to the door," he added. "You can smile as you explain. But if they refuse to give you a fixed time for further discussion, don't leave anything behind. It is better to make another cold call."
Indeed, Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz have built Courage Crafters Inc. based on the philosophy set forth in their co-authored book, Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There. The book focuses on how getting over your fear of rejection and increasing your failure rate can greatly accelerate your movement toward ultimate success.
"It is our belief that courage is the single most important virtue on which everything else in life, all your results, are built," they wrote on their website, www.goforno.com. "And we know that when people build their courage, anything is possible. … Courage must be developed … crafted, if you will … from the inside-out. But there is good news: All the courage you could ever want or need to achieve virtually any goal or dream you have is already inside you, like a muscle waiting to be used."
Often that means closing the door and moving on. But that doesn't mean you can't open it and welcome a conversation if a formerly hesitatant prospect comes knocking.
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