You just finished a meeting with your customer. You asked for their business. And the customer responds with—MAYBE. Sigh. How you interpret that maybe is up to you. Let’s be honest, most sales professionals interpret a MAYBE for a yes.

It’s important to remember that there are only two responses: Yes or No. In fact, NO is my second favorite answer in sales. It’s the “Maybe’s” that cause a lot of heartache and frustration for sales professionals—not to mention the time wasted with unnecessary follow-up.

Today, sales professionals hear more Maybe’s than No’s. If sales professionals can learn to decipher the maybe’s into a yes or no, their sale’s lives will improve.

Here are a few reasons for the maybe response:

  1. Wrong audience (not a qualified customer/prospect)
  2. Customer/prospect needs more information (sales professional wasn’t thorough enough)
  3. Customer/prospect doesn’t see the product/service as a solution

It’s also important to identify a maybe. Maybe’s can be camouflaged with a “We’ll see,” “I’ll think about it,”  “Let me talk with my wife/husband/partner,” “I’m too busy,” or “Contact me in two weeks” just to name a few.

Turn Maybes Into Yes Or No

Often times, sales people force a maybe into a yes (at least in their head). This causes a lot of “busy” work. Busy work consisting of numerous follow-up phone calls, emails, and stop-ins. Because sales professionals feel like they have already invested their time scheduling that appointment, drive-time to the appointment, and time spent with customer on the appointment, they make every effort to force sell their maybe’s. Unfortunately, added pressure from upper management doesn’t help either or the mandated detailed activity into the company’s CRM (Sales Force).

Sales just don’t want to let go and move on from their maybe babies. Determination turns into insanity.

Today, sales professionals hear more Maybe’s than No’s.

Don’t beat yourself up over a no. It’s OK. Most maybes turn into a NO. If it is a no, find out why? Constantly learn and improve from your experience. Trying to force a maybe into a yes is like trying to dry up the Atlantic Ocean with a beach towel. It’s not going to happen. Move on!

A message to sales professionals: Turn those maybe’s into a yes or no. How? Just ask. Your time is valuable.

A message to customers/prospects: If you’re not interested or not ready to make a buying decision at that time, just say so. It’s OK. Your time is valuable as well. If you don’t want a sales professional to constantly follow-up with you, then just say no.

So to close, eliminate maybe. Turn maybes into yes or no. Learn to accept a no. By hearing a no, you can focus more time on the customers who are interested in your product/service. Remember, YES or NO. There is no maybe.

Greg Hahn

Greg Hahn is known for entrepreneurial vision and translating vision into revenue generation and productivity, thriving in a diverse and fast-paced executive environment. Throughout his sales management career, he has led several sales teams toward positive growth. His most recent accomplishment was with The Blue Book Network. In just two years, he was able to reverse an under performing region to one of the top regions in the company in 2015. Greg specializes in online marketing including website consulting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.