Our five year-old son, often the subject of my Sales Management Blog, gave me some more material yesterday. He said, “Daddy, I need to ask you something and if you want to say no you can, I don’t care, but I would really like you to help me.”

I said, “Sure, what is it?”

“He said, “Would you please help me bring my robot (you know that big Sharper Image robot named Wally Robotics) downstairs?”

Not too long ago he would have demanded I bring it down for him. More recently he would have asked me to bring it down for him and I would have told him to get it himself. But when he asked so sweetly and gave me permission to say ‘no’ I just couldn’t resist. It was absolutely, without exception, the first time I wanted to say ‘yes’ to something I would normally say ‘no’ to.

Do you give your prospects permission to say ‘no’? You should. It makes it so much easier to close them. If you do give them this leeway, how and when you do so is crucial. For instance, if you call a prospect by phone and they sound rushed, it’s helpful if you simply ask, “Is this a bad time?” You’ll be amazed at how much more effective it is than pushing through the call with a resistant prospect. If they say they need to go into a meeting and you simply ask, “Would you like me to call back?” you’ll discover the same kind of response.

But that’s on the phone, trying to get to first base. What about when you’re trying to score? Assuming that you’re using my Inoffensive Close, if a prospect isn’t able to say ‘yes’ simply tell them that “It’s OK if you want to say ‘no’…”  Most prospects can’t.

Refer to the chapters on Getting to 1st Base and Scoring for more details.