Here are the top two reasons some people in sales struggle to gain commitments, both of which are very difficult to overcome: 1) an aversion to conflict, and 2) believing their ask will be greeted with an automatic “no.”
On Being Conflict Averse
Nothing I say here is to recommend that you seek out conflict for conflict’s sake, that you are self-oriented and pushy, or that you use high-pressure techniques to acquire commitments. These are the tactics of a two-year-old child who isn’t getting their way, and it is why only the most immature salespeople and sales organizations practice these sorts of approaches. There is, however, some relatively small amount of conflict in sales conversations.
You will hear “no” when you ask for an appointment, the commitment of time, and you will have to ask again. You will also hear “no” when you ask for some information, when you ask to bring in other people from your dream client’s team, and when you are collaborating and building a solution. And then there is the subject of money, the investment in the results the client needs and the negotiation that follows it.
What you need to know about conflict is that it is almost always resolved with a collaboration and some form of negotiation. You don’t generally improve conflict by increasing it.
On Expecting a No
There is some signal you give off that indicates you expect a “no” when you ask for a commitment. People can sense your lack of confidence, even if you are pretending to be otherwise. Because you don’t believe you deserve a “yes,” you make it very difficult for other people to believe you deserve a “yes.” If you don’t believe that what you sell benefits the person buying it, then they shouldn’t buy it from you—and you should not be selling it to them.
You find a lot of things wrapped up in this, but more times than not it comes down to how you feel about yourself. Some people don’t believe they deserve a “yes,” even when they do.
If you’ve done good work, believe your product or service is right for your prospective client, and are willing to be accountable for the results you sell, then you have every right to expect a “yes.” If you get anything else as an answer, it is almost always because the client has some concern they still need you to resolve. That is not a conflict; it is a person who is conflicted. Your job is to help them deal with their internal conflict.
The fastest way to improve here is to engage in the conversations that allow you to get comfortable and improve.