Sometimes It is Better to Say No

I had the pleasure of speaking to room full of female entrepreneurs on Friday about how to best leverage social media and social networking to increase their pool of sales opportunities. It was a good discussion that I kicked off with the idea that selling is marketing but marketing IS NOT selling. Sharp crowd who absolutely understand that at some point you have to stop your marketing and sell something. Selling is what brings revenue in the door.

At what price does that revenue cost you?

During the meeting, we talked about the sales funnel, and I asked audience members where they were finding themselves stuck. Was it on the front-end moving connections to close? Or, were they getting stuck somewhere else, like in the closing portion of the sale. Several told me that they were having a hard time moving sales meetings to actual closed business. I wondered why. As I’ve heard women share before, it came down to being fearful about asking for the money. In addition to concerns about the money conversation, I have certainly noticed that many women tend to price to low from the very beginning. Both circumstances are obviously a problem. No sales, no revenue, no business. It is that simple!

Do you know what you are worth?

It starts with being crystal clear about the value that you bring to clients. I know that I do great work and always give more than expected! If I am negotiating a deal and someone tells me that my asking price is high, I say, “It certainly is; I’m worth it. My references speak for themselves.” It is very important that you stay focused on the value that you deliver and not get sucked into a price war. Can someone else do it cheaper? Maybe, but it won’t be you and the work will certainly not be the same as what you can deliver.

Beware of discounting.

This is where the power of NO comes into play. If you’ve submitted a proposal and your prospect asks you to reduce the pricing, are you willing to say no to the deal? The question was asked of me during our session. My answer is yes. Even if I’ve done the best possible job selling the value of what I offer and the prospect still wants to beat me down on price, I’m more than willing to walk away. I know that if price is the sole focus, there are likely to be issues down the road.

Conversely, I may be just fine to reduce my pricing, but I never, ever give them the exact same services as originally proposed. In other words, I might say something like, “I’m happy to consider reducing the price to support your budget constraints. What portions of the original proposal are you willing to get go of?” This creates a dialog about what they are willing to give up in exchange for a price reduction. If they aren’t willing to give anything up then perhaps want to rethink whether or not you’ll offer them a discount.

As an entrepreneur, I know how easy it can be to want to default to your prospects terms to get the deal even when it will likely not end up being the best deal for you. But experience tells me that if you don’t value yourself, no one else will either!

Sometimes…it’s better to say no.

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