I once worked in telesales where the psychology of the “one-call close” is that you never say “No.” I worked hard on every call to get the customer into a series of “Yes” statements so that the natural final answer to the closing question was “Yes.” Guess what? It works for transactional sales…kinda. But it doesn’t work for large account selling.

The top sales people are not afraid of saying “no” to requests and challenges from prospects and clients. But the best sales people go further. They don’t allow a client’s requests to set the pace of the deal, for doing so may limit the sales person’s power in the deal. If the client is setting the pace, the sales person is not in the best position to tell a client what he or she can’t do, won’t do or what is not in the client’s best interest to do.

Now, just to be clear, I am not talking about combative selling or a “Dr. No” approach that I have sometimes seen. I am talking about the need to frame a value proposition clearly and with contrast so that it highlights what you bring to the table and what you do not.

There are lots of flavors of “no.” I would like to hear some of yours.

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