Commercial efficiency
4 min reading

5 data-driven tips to turn a "No" into a "Yes

Paul Berloty
October 2021
tips for converting prospects

This is one of the most difficult exercises for new salespeople.

It is also a subject I am personally passionate about.

And this is the basis of the sale.

If you want to convince those who do not want to be convinced, pay attention to what follows.

There are several types of "No".

To go further, I recommend the book Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.

Beware! Typically the kind of book that will take you to another level.ย 

Turning a No into a Yes

For many, 'no' is synonymous with failure, rejection and conflict.

Yet salespeople cannot be afraid of the word "no".ย 

You will encounter them throughout your career. That's why the sales profession exists.

"Don't take no for an answer. "

Sir Winston Churchill

Your prospects will tend to say "no" more than "yes".

It's less engaging. They protect themselves.

So ask your questions differently to get "no's" that mean "yes's".ย 

"Today, I understand that you do not have a solution for managing the progress of your salespeople.

"I also understand that it takes an average of 3 months for your sales people to be properly trained".

"Would you like to do better
or is it a topic that is not a priority for you?โ€

This is an example we see at Modjo but you get the idea.ย 

By phrasing the question differently, you make "no" a positive action.

"No indeed, we can always do better but..."ย 

But ...

Obviously you haven't convinced your prospect yet, but you are paving the way for them to say "yes" later.

A "no" is not necessarily negative.

Of the 160,000 conversations we analysed, the most trained salespeople receive as many as the least trained.

Gain the trust of your interlocutors with the "no".

Most prospects are suspicious of salespeople. You have to gain their trust.

"The best salespeople are the ones who convince you without giving the impression that they are trying to convince you. They make you forget that they are salespeople"

Zero to One - Peter Thiel

Avoid using the tried and tested forms of politeness.

This is not convincing and it increases the distrust of your interlocutors.

Communicate in a straightforward manner and you will gain the trust of your prospects

The more confidence they have, the more they can listen to what you have to say and accept a next step.

To gain the trust of your prospects. Stop having an answer for everything. Stop saying yes to everything.

Address the weak points of your product yourself. Don't be afraid to say "no".

Less trained commercial .

"Yes of course, we are planning to release this feature, it should arrive within a few months of your signature".

Trained commercial :

"No, we don't have that functionality and to be quite honest, we don't have any plans to do that in the short term.

Challenge: What do you say if your prospect asks you "is your product of good quality?"

It should be in one sentence.

I look forward to your reply by email:

Rephrase their answers

In sales, this is called mirroring.

Your prospect may not really mean what he or she is saying and is simply trying to end the conversation.

A strong signal that they do not yet trust you.

Let them realise that their objection may not make sense.

Some of us will be uncomfortable with this practice.

You will be surprised at how effective mirroring can be, especially if you listen to your prospect without interrupting.

Focus on what they are saying. Encourage them to talk. Establish an atmosphere of trust.
Don't try to interrupt them to argue about your product or service.


Ask the right questions to understand the hidden objection.

When a prospect says no to you, sometimes that doesn't mean no.

To turn a "no" into a "yes" you need to understand the prospect's real objection.ย 

Always respond in a positive and professional manner.

Try to understand whether your prospect is really thinking "no" or whether they are hiding important information from you.

"No' is never the end of your story with the prospect.ย 

He may have misunderstood a key point of your product.ย 

Be aware that the following can have a big (positive) impact on your results.

It takes practice and preparation.


"I'll think about it and get back to you".

An untrained salesperson:

"OK, no problem, I'll wait for your feedback".

A trained salesperson:

"OK, I understand"

"To be completely transparent"

"With experience, I know that when I'm refused a next step"

"It's either that there's no interest and I reassure you there's no problem with that".

"Or there's an interest but I haven't entirely convinced you" "Which is it?


er... yes indeed, the problem is that (real objection)"

If you have any doubts, you can also try :

"What would prevent us from working together? โ€

You will find that few of your prospects can outwit this question.

It forces honesty.



Detach yourself emotionally from the outcome

New salespeople are so afraid of "no" that they don't dare to be direct with their prospects.ย 

Salespeople have to get used to hearing "no": it's part of the job.ย 

When you start, a simple "no" can plague you for days.ย 

Selling is like sport: the first time it hurts.ย 

Over time, you adjust, practice and get used to it.ย 

You end up loving the pain.

Good luck.

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