Know When to Say When

Salespeople: Know When to Say When

 Ken: Today we have are offering a guest blog from Adam Honig who is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies


There are many skills a salesperson needs to perfect to become a legendary seller.  But pushing hard for a sale, no matter the circumstances, isn’t one of them.  Sometimes it’s best to know when to say when. Here are three ways you can show restraint, and still get ahead.

Bite your tongue and stop selling

If you have done your research and talked through solutions with your customer, then you should have a pretty good plan hammered out on how to sell them what they need.  But sometimes, mid-sale negotiations, it starts to feel like a slam dunk sale.  You may get greedy and on the fly rethink your solution.  Instead of selling them the original package for X dollars, you stretch the original concept and propose to sell them a whole new solution that is double the cost.  They get nervous, re-evaluate, drag their heels, and you eventually lose the deal. The whole deal.

C’mon salespeople, show some restraint!  Instead, once you have reached your objective, whether it be in a meeting or on a call, know when to stop selling. Just shut your mouth and know when to say when. To ensure you do this, purposefully make a plan before each interaction with the client. You need to communicate with your team to make sure they’re on the same wavelength with you…. and also keep the client in the loop. Stick to this game plan and before you know it, you will be celebrating the victory of a sale.

It’s already dead and rotting, so bury the opportunity

When you are working a ton of deals, do you sometimes feel like you are spreading yourself too thin?  Juggling with a few too many balls in the air? Perhaps it’s time to drop some of those dead-end opportunities. Knowing when to say enough is enough on pursuing an opp is a necessary skill.

Two strengths salespeople have are passion and confidence, which can also become our weaknesses. We all want to win, and this causes us to hold onto deals longer than we should at times. While confidence is needed in sales, overconfidence can cause an overestimation of our ability to close any and all deals. As a result, we can hold onto deals way too long; fighting for them for that sense of accomplishment. However, when too much energy is focused on a deal that barely closes, how secure is that sale, how happy is that customer, and how many solid deals did you lose in the mean time?

At my last company when we won a deal, it would be active in our CRM system on average for 90 days. Deals we lost? We kept them in our CRM system for on average 200 days!

Deals that aren’t going anywhere not only sap your energy and emotions, but they keep your eye from the deals that matter.   Have you not heard from them in over a month? Are they not a good fit for your product? Yeah, they probably did get your messages, and are just ignoring you for a reason. Take the hint, it may be time to kill the opportunity and move on.

Make them want what they think they can’t have. Or can they?

Imagine being on a call and the prospect seems so uninterested in your product that you just want to throw in the sales towel and say “yeah, maybe YOU aren’t right for OUR product”. Assuming you aren’t fired on the spot, what if then that prospect turns your negative questioning around and starts to convince YOU why THEY are right for your product.  I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes a little push-back can work.

I like to refer to this sales technique where a salesperson basically challenges the prospect to reject an offering as the “negative close”. Examples include questions like “this project will never get funded, right?” or “it’s unlikely you can get approval for this, right?” The idea is to get your prospect to disagree with you.

Part of the challenge in sales is getting your customers to be honest with you about their reservations with your product, or their timing and budget for a purchase. It’s not like they are always trying to hide something from you. Often they themselves don’t even know the answer.

Giving a prospect an easy way to say “no” can help you qualify a deal quicker and move onto other more lucrative opportunities. You’ll find out what your potential client is really looking for and if he/she has the budget to back his/her desires. It’s a time saver for all involved.

As long as your tone is right and you don’t use it too often, you can use negative responses in your favor.

In conclusion

In sales, sometimes showing restraint may be a path to success.  Don’t be afraid to kill already-dead opportunities. Take a chance and push back on a prospect to reject an offering. And  learn when to be happy with reaching your objective in a meeting.  Know when to say when, sales guys!

Bio on author, Adam Honig:

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.