People buy from you, not because you understand, but because they feel understood.

As a sales professional, I urge you to rethink NO. Who knows what buyers mean when they say no? I certainly don’t. That is until I ask questions. The questions I ask when I hear the word “no” are designed to draw them out, to get them to clarify, elaborate, and simply “tell me more” about what they’re thinking–keeping the sale moving forward.

Here the Five Most Common Reasons Buyers Say No

1. “No, not yet.” If this is the case, you’ve created interest, but not enough urgency for the buyer to make a decision. This buyer likely has lingering questions that need to be addressed. The unaware salesperson will assume this “no” means “no sale” and move on. Well-educated sales pros understand that this “no” just means, “let’s talk some more.”

2. It could mean that you haven’t fully discovered all of the buyer’s needs or qualifications. Few buyers are 100% forthcoming with sales people. This should not be a surprise to you if you’ve been in the business for more than 2 days. Every sale lies behind a door with a big question mark on it. Keep asking questions until your buyer feels that you truly understand what they want, need and will own. People buy from you, not because you understand, but because they feel understood.

3. The buyer might be saying this just “isn’t the right time” for a decision. Timing is everything. Be very clear in asking timing questions. If not today, when? If not now, what’s holding them back? What needs to fall into place in order for the buyer to make a decision? Questions truly are the answer!

4. “Not that model/color/size/quantity.” If you offer variations of product (models, sizes, color and so on), just because a buyer says “no” to Plan A, be prepared to work your way through to Plan Z. Of course, you wouldn’t really offer them 26 options. When you do your job properly of gathering their specs and other information, you should be able to narrow their options down to three with one of them being the best solution for their needs today.

5. “No, not you.” It’s sad, but true. Some people just won’t “click” with you. They won’t feel comfortable with you. And perhaps you won’t feel comfortable with them. We can’t expect to win every sale for ourselves, but when we’re flexible, we might be able to save the sale for the company by turning it over to another salesperson with a different personality or style that this buyer might be able to work well with. I’ve even had students build great referral businesses from referring clients whose needs they couldn’t serve to a salesperson in a totally different company (a company with a better solution). The salesperson receiving the lead would then, in turn, refer business back. When you’re flexible, anything is feasible!

Hopefully, this little lesson will help you think differently and adapt more readily when you hear your next potential client say “no.”

About the author

Tom Hopkins

Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as an expert and authority on the subject of selling.…

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