When the goal of your sales pitch is to get to "No"

There are 8 billion of us on this planet, with an estimated 5.44 billion of those online. All of us potential buyers for something.

But that doesn't mean you want any specific individual to buy your thing.

I often tell my students that the goal of a great sales pitch is to end with an excited Yes, or with a firm NO.

"No" is not just a stepping stone to an eventual "Yes." A firm, informed No is good in and of itself.

A smart "No" means:

  1. we have done our jobs thoroughly and professionally, and given someone our full attention (metaphorically, in the sense of an extremely well-crafted sales page/sequence/automated demo)
  2. we helped them explore specific, crispy, concrete pains and dreams (that is, the ones that drove the design & development of our product)
  3. we demonstrated how the product delivers the would-be customer from the specific pains to the specific dreams; its function, its values, its ROI

…and yet still we both, potential customer and sales person, agree that moving forward is not a match, or the best use of time/money — theirs, and ours.

That's a win!

That's right: no sale is a win!

And it's a win for three reasons:

  1. One, it's the right thing to do. The only morally correct thing is to not persuade someone to buy something that definitely won't work for them.
  2. Two, even if they don't buy today — or ever! — they will remember you, and how respectful and considerate and trustworthy you are. And it's quite possible they'll talk about it. Happy non-buyers can drive some of the best word of mouth!
  3. Three, it pays off in a literal financial sense, even when they literally are not giving you any money…

A hard-sold customer is an unhappy customer, who comes back with problem after problem, complaints and crises, refunds and even chargebacks. You know how loss is felt more keenly than gain? Well, regret is a much more powerful motivator than satisfaction, and feeling deceived is even more powerful than that. And highly motivated angry people write bad reviews and spread negative word of mouth.

Selling someone a product that's not right for them is not right for you, either.

So, there you have it:

When you sit down to write your sales copy, leave out all the stuff that you think will "appeal to everyone"… and aim for a strong No!

PS: I don't believe in hard sells and neither should you. The tactics that are just part of the standard game when it comes to decisionmakers in a megacorp, out of whose pockets the money does not come, can not be fairly wielded in sales discussions with individuals or small biz who are responsible for every penny.