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Three Key Words for the Sales Professional-A Video Tutorial

by Kenneth Rudich

(Producer’s Note: This tutorial employs a graphic from another video tutorial titled “The Marketing Concept of Value,” which is also available at this site.  Since sales often entails the task of doing backward engineering to create customer value, you may find it useful to watch this video as well.) 

My best friend, who…btw…also happens to be the most gifted salesperson I know, thinks of his profession as revolving around three key words.

They are Yes…No…and Maybe. 

Let’s briefly look at each within the context of the sales environment.

The word yes is, of course, more sought after than any other.  The only thing better than getting a yes, is getting it quickly.  An alternative pronunciation for the word yes is ka-ching.

The word no, on the other hand, creates a completely different dynamic.  My friend is fond of saying that a no is as good as a yes, partly because he’s a diehard optimist, but mostly because he sees it as having a utility value.

Webster’s defines the word “utility” as fitness for some purpose or having worth to achieve some end.

The utility value of the word “no” rests with ascertaining what it really means.  Is it a definitive “no,” as in there’s no chance whatsoever of making a sale.  Or is it merely an objection that, if handled well, can be turned into a “yes?”

This is where my friend tends to really shine as a salesperson.  For him it’s a two-step evaluation process. 

The litmus test for determining if it’s a definitive no hinges on whether the prospect is able to make the purchase.  It involves two questions: does he have the authority to make the purchase decision, and can he afford the asking price if he likes what he sees?

A negative response in either case suggests it’s best to stop what you’re doing and move on.

If able is not a problem, then the next step is to assess willingness.  In light of what the prospect has seen or heard thus far, what is preventing him from saying yes?

Is the offer missing a perceived benefit in some way or some area of concern?

This is a good time to ask probing questions, listen carefully to what the prospect has to say, and then make adjustments as is appropriate or possible.

In essence, it’s an opportunity to turn a “no” into a “yes.”

The last word on the list is “maybe.”  This one is as unwanted as a flat tire in the middle of rush hour. 

Under this circumstance, my friend is inclined to test the possibility of making a sale, but he’s also prepared to cut loose before it chews up too much of his time.  The last thing he wants, or for that matter, any salesperson wants, is to be strung along by someone who has no intention of making a purchase.

So there you have it.  Three pivotal words to keep an eye on in the sales profession.  Yes…No…and Maybe.       

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