The Big Picture

What seems like a disaster is actually the best news you've heard all day.

It's easy to become discouraged when you're selling, especially if you don't recognize when something good just happened. Here are five very common situations that many people who sell for a living interpret as "bad news" when in fact they're actually minor victories.

1. The prospect hangs up on your cold call.

When you're cold-calling, the last thing you want is to waste time having conversations with people who aren't likely to buy. When a prospect hangs up immediately, you can move to the next person on your call list, secure in the knowledge that you weren't going to make that sale anyway.

2. The prospect says this is not a good time to talk.

While this seems like a setback, the implication is that what you're selling is of interest to the prospect and that there will, at some point, be a good time to talk about it. Therefore, your best response is to ask for an appointment sometime in the future. Make certain it's a specific time and date. (Because of "setback" 3, below.)

3. The prospect stands you up for a scheduled meeting.

Ouch! The prospect blew you off. Actually, no ouch. Hooray! As Tom Gimbel, CEO the staffing firm LaSalle Network recently pointed out to me, when a prospect stands you up, it creates a sense of obligation and even guilt. The prospect is now bound, by social convention, to say "yes" to another meeting and then to actually meet with you.

4. The prospect raises an objection to buying.

It's not true that an objection means that the customer has found a reason not to buy. In fact, as sales guru Tom Hopkins once told me, an opportunity isn't real until the prospect raises an objection. The objection proves that the prospect is now actually thinking about buying which means that you'll likely make the sale once you've overcome the objection.

5. The prospect says "there's no budget for this."

This is not good news, it's great news. Chances are, if there's already a budget allocated to what you're selling, it's already allocated to go to a competitor. You now have the opportunity to help the prospect change priorities so that budget IS allocated, with specific requirements that favor YOUR solution.