Skip to main content

Salespeople - Just Answer the Question.

How we love to elaborate…     Both in our personal and business lives.   It is rare to find somebody who simply answers the question.

In sales, it is becoming more and more critical to just say yes or no.   If you want to embroider afterwards, by all means, but tell the client you can or you can’t do it, first.


That’s what they remember, the yes or the no.
Being married to an engineer, I have learnt that if I don’t answer the question, he simply repeats it, until he gets a definitive answer..

As the above is extremely bad for marital relationships, I try to say yes or no first and then give the details.


I thought it was just me, but I have been observing my friends and the people I work with, and it is fascinating how few one word answers are immediately available.
When you are selling and a client asks you:

  • If the widget turns blue in the dark, say yes if it does, then ask if that is a key part of the decision making process
  • If they ask when you can deliver, give them a date, then you can start to unpack if that was a buying signal.




  • If they want to know if there are additional features and benefits, say yes there are and then tell them what they are.
  • If they ask if it comes in pink, say yes, then tell them about all the other colours, but first say yes!
While I know that this might be counter to the ABC (Always Be Closing) of selling, I have realised that when I am in a “being sold to” situation my perception is that not answering the question directly is a sales ploy.   The sales person’s credibility immediately drops.   I know I am being pitched, and I immediately become defensive, and not that keen to finalise the deal.





So for me it’s the moment I hear the “If I can confirm that it comes in blue, will you sign the order?” when the warning  flags start to fly…




Of course, it is important to give the reason behind the answer, particularly if there is legal risk, or a possibility of misunderstanding, the immediate affirmative (or an honest no)  is a positive step in building trust relationships during the sales process.






Links, References and Notes

Accsys provides people management solutions ie Payroll, Human Resources (HR), Time and Attendance as well as Access Control/Visitor Management.
The company develops, implements, trains and services our solutions.  We provide readers, turnstiles, booms and CCTV.
We run both on premise and in the cloud, as well as mobile options for ESS.  Recruitment, online education and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) are part of our offering, too.
http://www.accsys.co.za/accsys-peopleplace-talent-management
email:      tschroenn@accsys.co.za
twitter:   @TerylSchroenn
Note:   Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.

Popular posts from this blog

Agile workers & workspaces - a new way of working..

Being an agile worker is still a work in progress…
Is flexibility now a reality in the workplace?And is it really working? We keep renaming it – remote, activity based and agile work being some of the current terms. The assumption of control over one’s own time and deliverables does look like a great way to work and live, and it seems to be is a high priority for those entering the business world. There is also the development of the agile work space, where people come to the office each day, but don’t have a fixed work area.We used to call it hot desking back in the day and it met with mixed success.Today, office designers have started to create work spaces which are intended to encourage innovative thought, cross departmental collaboration and improved productivity. My research indicates that the mix of engaged and disengaged employees in an open plan workspace does not always have the desired effect of the positive workers influencing the culture.In fact, a case study of a senior execut…

It's Not Your Fault, But..

It’s Not Your Fault, But…
Its’s not mine, either. When something goes wrong, whether at work or home, most people immediately start casting around for somebody to blame. Over the weekend, I was reading and drinking a cup of coffee which was perched on the arm of the couch.  I do this daily, and have never spilled it.   My daughter came into the room, I put my reader down next to me and we started chatting.  A little later, I picked the reader up, turned to my coffee, and knocked it over.  Something in my expression caused her to ask whether it was her fault.  Of course, it wasn’t, but a mean, small part of me was thinking, well, no, but if you hadn’t come in the room…  And she was kind enough to help me clear it up!
If that lamp post wasn’t there If that faster person wasn’t in the race If the traffic light hadn’t turned red at just that moment If we hadn’t hired Joe, I would have got the promotion If, if, if….. We are very quick to accept the “if” when it is about us, and much slower to do so…

Setting Budgets and Targets

Does too much of a stretch impact motivation?    Over many years of setting (and trying to achieve) targets and budgets, getting the balance right between stretch and motivation remains a challenge.

I love Jim Collins and Jerry Porras and their BHAGs in their great book, Built to Last, but if the goals are seen as unachievable too early in the business year, what then?

Is there a way for businesses to achieve success without budgets and targets in place?

Two old favourites " You can only manage what you can measure" and "People do what managers measure" suggest that they can't.  I am sure there must be successful businesses with different methodologies, but most of us need to work towards something.

With that in mind, I think there needs to be stretch, and there needs to be a sense of achievability.

Why would you race against Usain Bolt unless you think you could win?

The same goes for budgets and targets, people need to believe they are possible.

So how do you…