Dealing With No: Negative-Reverse Selling With Email

“No” comes in many flavors. The right-away no. The ignoring you no. The “I’m too busy” or too comfortable with the status quo no. You know what? That’s life. That’s part of being in sales. Keep at it. Be persistent.

Email’s Place In Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy“No” comes in many flavors. The right-away no. The ignoring you no. The “I’m too busy” or too comfortable with the status quo no.

You know what? That’s life. That’s part of being in sales. Keep at it. Be persistent.

But sometimes no’s hurt. And with good reason. They’re disrespectful. No, not to you.

Sometimes customers are disrespectful to their own intellect.

Ever meet prospects who say no without considering the negative consequences of continuing with the status quo?

Forget about considering benefits you offer — they won’t even consider how ignoring change could hurt them!

What if there was a way to harness that negative energy, to use it to both sides’ advantage? Especially when you have a dialogue working, but need to qualify it a bit more.

Is there a way to work with prospects who brush your email off, or ignore your call? Indeed, there is.

Ever Experience This?

Think back to the last time a seller was trying to persuade you to buy. Specifically, a time when you were comfortable with how things were at the moment. The decision you were being asked to consider would require serious consideration. But you didn’t have time for that.

Remember a situation like that? You didn’t have time to consider your specific needs — let alone the details about what the seller was selling.

But suddenly, as you were conversing, the seller said, “Ok. I don’t think you’re ready for this yet. This clearly isn’t a fit for you now.”

That may have jarred you.

That’s because the seller challenged your desire — your ability to want what’s being offered.

It’s a peculiar event and generates tension. Purposefully.

If this sounds familiar, you were probably succumbing to an old (yet effective) sales communications technique called negative-reverse selling. This is one of many effective communications tools invented by David H. Sandler.

It’s a method successful digital sellers understand and practice when using the written word. Do you?

What Is the Negative Reverse?

Writer, Anna Migeon puts it best. She says, selling is like fishing, according to Sandler.

“When you first feel a tug on the line, resist the impulse to reel in the line right then. That first nibble is just the moment when the fish needs a little extra slack on the line, to allow it the time to really grab hold of the hook.”

Ever bottom-fish for bass with soft, artificial lures? Then you know what I’m talking about.

Migeon says with knowledge and understanding, the patient fisherman or fisherwoman waits for the line to tighten again … then gently, carefully, sets the hook.

You see, Sandler invented the idea of making “verbal contracts” with prospects. Rather than trying to sell to them, Sandler started challenging his prospects to convince him to sell.

His approach was unorthodox and dramatically effective.

When Might You Use Negative-Reverse?

Email and phone scripts. The negative-reverse technique can be effective in email communications — as part of your follow-up message sequence. It’s a great way to “weed the garden” of poor leads — so you can move on to more close-able prospects.

This very deliberate, specific way of writing is effective in helping clients self-disqualify from your prospecting message sequence.

Migeon puts it plainly. When the prospective buyer seems interested the amateur, over-eager salesperson will whip out the contract.

“It’s at that point the prospect smells a rat and is likely to run the other way,” says Migeon. “The more pushy and aggressive the salesperson, the more resistant the prospect is likely to become.”

However, an effective salesperson knows when to give the fish extra line.

Take a Step Backward to Go Forward

For example, let’s say you’ve got a discussion going. You’ve researched your prospect inside-out. They will truly benefit from doing business with you. However, they are comfortable with the status quo. Thus, they brush you off — without giving thought speaking with you.

When customers aren’t approachable they sometimes need encouragement to introspect — to stop for a moment and examine their “no.”

This is where the “negative reverse” technique shines. It’s all about taking a step backward to draw the prospect forward.

Examples of a Negative Reverse

“Well it sounds to me like you aren’t interested in moving forward on training your sales team, Susan.”

Or …

“The more I listen, the more I understand. You’re not ready to invest in improving your sales communications technique.”

Or perhaps you might ask your prospect, “Are you sure you’ve given it enough thought?”

How to Create a LinkedIn Social Selling Strategy

What is your LinkedIn social selling strategy? If you don’t have one—or your sales team isn’t generating leads on LinkedIn—you’re not alone. In fact, most dealers and reps are mimicking the mistakes of marketers. They’re relying on attraction and influence tactics. Instead, trust your selling instincts to an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.

What is your LinkedIn social selling strategy? If you don’t have one—or your sales team isn’t generating leads on LinkedIn—you’re not alone. In fact, most dealers and reps are mimicking the mistakes of marketers.

They’re relying on attraction and influence tactics. Instead, trust your selling instincts to an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.

Avoid what we already know doesn’t work: influencing. Help your reps start provoking prospects. The key to unlocking more appointments is compelling prospects to share pains and ambitions sellers can work with—not hoping to influence them into action.

Why Your Sellers Are Failing
A sales rep or dealer’s LinkedIn profile can be a lead generation magnet. Likewise, groups, direct messages and InMail can be too. So why are sellers experiencing such poor results?

LinkedIn experts keep pushing techniques that FAIL. Not because they’re bad people. Because their ideas are simple to execute. Too simple.

“I think it is so unprofessional when people just keep regurgitating or recycling articles that they wrote in the past or sharing links over and over to try to gain interest,” says Mike Reed. Mike is a front line rep for a client of mine who’s asked to not be named.

This is why most sellers fail. They’re going to modern-day battle with pitchforks being sold by self-appointed experts. Many of which have never sold anything!

“Next thing I know is that seller or subject is now being seen as credible (by their superiors) just because they are constantly in regurgitating information,” laments Reed.

And the beat goes on. Monkey see, monkey do—we fail more.

What You REALLY Don’t Have Time For
I know many sellers say, “I don’t have time to invest in a LinkedIn social selling strategy.” My clients tell me this daily. Plus, most don’t know what to do with it—and how to go about it.

The result is reps doing as little as possible of what is as easy as possible.

What you REALLY don’t have time for is techniques that are easy to do—that fail!

  • Promoting content in updates and in Groups
  • Adding rich media to your profile
  • Being seen as an expert in Groups

Fail, fail, fail.

Dump Attraction and Influence as Goals
The first step to setting your LinkedIn social selling strategy is to disregard success metrics coming from today’s LinkedIn gurus. Your sellers must reach beyond grabbing attention of buyers or trying to influence them. They must reach beyond:

  • teaching connections something new—so reputation rises
  • counting number of views and comments on posts/updates
  • applying a personal view to company-supplied content when posting

After all, how can “improved reputation” a meaningful outcome for a rep?

Today’s top social sellers know—they cannot afford to live like marketers. They don’t get paid to broadcast on social media and hope for attention and engagement.

Sellers get paid when we engage in ways that move us down the sales funnel—closer to a closed deal.

That’s why your goal must be direct provocation of prospects that connects to a lead capture and nurturing process.

Start Asking These Questions
Need a LinkedIn social selling strategy that empowers reps with the right tools? We’ve got to start asking better questions of experts, consultants and sales trainers.

Questions like HOW, exactly, does:

  • promoting content shorten selling cycles?
  • adding rich media to a profile create leads?
  • being seen as an expert lead to more appointments being set?

Your team isn’t failing because they’re slow or stupid with LinkedIn prospecting. Nor are you a laggard for not having a LinkedIn social selling strategy. If you’re still reading you’re ready to take action on my call to action.

Make sure your dealers and reps don’t mimic B-to-B marketers. Trust your selling instincts. Let them guide your LinkedIn prospecting strategy.

Help your reps start provoking prospects to take action and arm them with content that scratches customers itches—in ways that generate more appointments for sellers. Let me know how it’s going or if you have questions in comments!