try to get your customers no

The Joy of No

Those of us in sales (and people generally) are trained to go for the yes.
“Yes, I’ll buy that.”
“Yes, I’ll marry you!”
“Yes, you can have another piece of pie.”

Problem is, if you are selling something that involves some kind of interaction with the customer, the no is what you really want.

If your site is set up to simply be a shopping cart, and you rarely have email exchanges and phone calls with your customers (or potential customers, who we’ll call prospects here) you can’t really get a no.  You can safely skip the rest of this post. But if you do spend time on customer service, or actively sell to your prospects, read on…

 The yes

We all love the yes. The yes is the order in shopping cart, the phone call that ends in a credit card number, the email that says “Hey, I’m about to pull the trigger here, just want to know how fast I can get this.” The yes pays the bills. But the next best thing is the no.

The no

It took a long time to get this into my thick head, but I learned to love the no. The no does a lot of things for me. Once I have my no, I can move on to the next prospect, or item on my to-do list.

Every no teaches me something about my business and my products. One of the most important things you can know is who your customers are – and who they aren’t.

If my site is pulling noes then something is wrong. Maybe my copy needs to be tweaked, or my keyword research was off to start with. Maybe I need to ad some negative keywords to my Adwords campaign.

If you’re smart, you’ll start a text file and put your noes in it. Over time, you’ll see a pattern. Aside from helping me tweak on page copy and Adwords campaigns, my noes have led me to consider new products and even websites. I don’t need more than a few people telling they couldn’t find the widget benders on my site before I hunt down a widget bender supplier.

The worst case scenario – the maybe

Maybes are terrible. They suck you in. They want pricing, shipping details, options, discounts, special deals and on and on. “Maybe” consumers are known in the real estate world as looky-loos. They are a huge time-suck. In the online world they send multiple emails, and if you have a number on your site they call you.

Your job is to do one of two things to a maybe – convert it into a yes or force it to a no. While this post is not the place to go into multiple sales techniques, I will tell you that one of my favorites.  You can force the issue without seeming rude by moving to a choice:

“Yes, the cheese straightener does include free shipping. Is UPS ground OK?”

If you can get a yes to that, then it is a simple step to asking which kind of credit card they want to use. It can be a little more difficult via email, but you can usually get to a decision point fairly easily. The point is to move them in one direction or another as quickly as possible.


  • Noes are good – they free you to move on to more productive things
  • Noes tell you about your business, your marketing and even point you to new opportunities
  • Maybes are really either yeses or noes. Your job is to unmask them for what they are.
  • Keep track of your noes.

Noes are the people that your website is currently attracting telling you who they are and what they want. This information is gold that no analytics package can ever give you. Put it to use, and save time while adding to the bottom line.