Yes! Is Your Best Reply!

Filed Under (OP Sales Training, Tele-Sales) by Don on 26-03-2007

Isn’t it interesting that the most common answer to your customer service or product question(s) are typically answered with a “No”?   Is that available in a fine point or is that available in white instead of black?  We are quick to answer No because it is the easy answer, and perhaps it is the truthful one.  Where we loose the game is by simply stating the fact, the item isn’t available in a fine point.  We lost because we didn’t think outside the original question.  Observe the following series of questions and responses.

Customer:         “I really like this gel pen but would prefer it in a fine point, is that available?”

CSR/Rep:          “No, I’m sorry it is only available in a medium point.”


Customer:         “I really like this gel pen but would prefer it in a fine point, is that available?”

CSR/Rep:          “Yes!  It is available from a different manufacturer; would you like to receive a free sample to see the quality?”

The first example was an honest answer to a typical question.  No, it isn’t available from XYZ Pen Company.  However, our mistake was in not addressing the actual question, “Is it available in a fine point?”  We lost the potential sale because we didn’t think objectively and skillfully.  XYZ Pen Company doesn’t make that same pen in a fine point but ABC Pen Company does.  We didn’t approach the price question we simply offered another comparable product that will meet the customer’s needs and offered them a free sample to try.  Why the free sample?  By offering the free sample it shows that we not only care about the customer’s needs but that we are willing to go the extra step by giving them one to evaluate at no charge.  There are so many products in today’s market it is difficult to say that nothing isn’t available in whatever shape or form to fit the customer needs.  You might even up the sale by providing a superior product that is available and meets their needs and gives you a greater profit!  It is important to know your products and what is available.  It is very important to stay well informed about new products and product lines.  There are many web sites and periodicals available detailing this kind of information.  In order to become and remain an effective and proficient sales person you must practice self development and improvement on a daily basis.


Some years ago I was doing business with a large law firm that purchased a great deal of products and custom printing.  Their stationary was engraved which if you know much about printing you know that this process is very expensive and not many print houses offer this product.  Engraved stationary is the Rolls Royce of stationary and demonstrates the quality and professionalism of the finest businesses.  This product can easily cost three or four times the typical cost of a raised letter thermography process and most consumers will not know the difference.  However, this group of attorneys was adamant that they would only have the finest letterhead, envelopes and business cards on the market.  One year the office manager told me the firm was in a budget crunch and would be shopping my prices.  A statement such as this strikes fear into the hearts of sales people everywhere!  I had a good relationship with the paralegals and many of the attorneys knew me by name so I decided to take a different approach.  I told the office manager “Yes!  I think that is a great idea!”  I knew the products they used and I knew the people so I had a definite advantage.  I took one of the senior partners business card and had it produced using thermography instead of engraving and changed the paper stock resulting in a 70% reduction in cost of just one set of business cards.  Then after examining their other products I put together a list of equal to or better than substitutions, made up a sample packet for each attorney (15 altogether).  A couple of weeks later the office manager, senior partner and I sat down for a presentation.  When our meeting was finished the senior partner stated he was proud to do business with me and he appreciated my service.  I saved him over $2500 per year on his business cards and nearly $3000 per year on their supplies and services.  You are probably thinking that I lost business because I just gave up over $5000 in revenue.  Wrong!  I gained a substantial amount of business because they didn’t shop my prices, many of the products were replaced with higher margin items and I made and qualified numerous suggestions about the other items and equipment he used in his office resulting in new business.  One of my networked ‘friends’ was brought on board to service his equipment and I received spiffs for that and my customer saved a lot of money from his previous service provider.  There is more information on this that I have space to write but be assured that by simply saying “Yes” I was able to provide a real solution to a potential issue that could have cost me a very valuable customer.  In case you are wondering I am still doing business with this firm nearly 20 years later.

 Yes, simply stated means you won’t take No for an answer.  It means that you truly have the customer’s best interests at heart.  The bonus comes when you make the sale, keep the customer happy and best case is you might even make more money.  Woohoo!


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