Why getting a yes is a kiss of death

Did you ever have a sales job where you either sold in a store or over the phone?

I’ve had both. Maybe you’ve had a sales manager like some of the ones I’ve had.

I don’t remember who taught me this, but some past manager I had taught me some trick of getting mini-commitments from customers and prospects.

The psychological trick where you get someone to say “yes” until they agree to a sale.

I’ve done this before thinking it worked, until it didn’t.

I would sometimes talk with prospects, who would tell me that they were interested in my proposal so much.

But later on, I never heard from them or I finally got a “no”, but I never understood why.

That was until I read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, who was an FBI hostage negotiator turned business consultant.

Voss said that if you get a “yes” right off the bat during a sales presentation, it’s not a good sign.

That’s because that “yes” might be false flag. It’s what Voss calls a Counterfeit Yes. It’s a yes customers say just because it’s easier to say than no and makes you go away faster.

So how do you go from a Counterfeit yes to a genuine yes?

Voss says all negotiations start with no, and you want to ask questions that are centered around no.

One big reason is you want to find out specifics about what they’re really interested in and what they aren’t.

If you give prospects the freedom to say no, it makes them feel more comfortable with you and gives them an invitation to open up.

Instead of thinking of no as a rejection, you have to think of it as a launching pad for asking more consultative questions and opportunities for listening to someone.

So instead of feeling like you are battling someone, it feels like you’re collaborating with them.

The other great thing about asking no centered questions, is it forces customers to define their answers and explain them to you.

Check out the book here. A copy of the audiobook is free right now on some YouTube channel.