No is awesome, Yes isn't.

I've been the 'salesman' often – though never with a quota for someone else.

I've done it as a business founder selling to your first handful of customers. You do have a quota that goes something like this:

"Sell something or you go out of business, ok?"

Early on, I'd always try to get to a "yes."

I'd give wishy-washy prospects more time. I wouldn't create little hurdles to test to see if a customer was actually interested or not. I wouldn't tell someone I suspected of stringing me along: "Look, I think you're not really interested, and by not telling me 'no', you're wasting my time and yours." I wouldn't straight-out ask for the sale.

I was optimizing for "yes" when I should have been optimizing for a "no."

Going for "no" is much more powerful. In the end, sales is often a numbers game. If I know that 5% of my leads will close, then the more leads I push through the funnel the better my sales numbers will be.

Of course, this doesn't apply to everything such as if you're a rep responsible for working into a named account. Or, you're doing business development. But, in sales, especially the transactional kind, optimize for "no" rather than "yes."

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