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  • Brett Zalaski

Is 'Maybe' an Acceptable Sales Answer?


One of the foundational principles that I discuss in my training (and I'm far from the only) is that the best salespeople get the most answers. They get more'yes'', more 'no's', and less 'maybe's' than their peers.


But a USL rep, who's gone through my training, wrote to me the other day asking, 'I'm just getting a TON of 'maybe's' during #COVID19 and I don't want to push back in this climate. Is that ok?'


I'm going to hold to the principle above. Even in #COVID19, the people having the most success are the ones getting the most answers. BUT since not a ton of us really have tickets to sell, I'm going to let 'maybe's' be temporarily fine under a couple of conditions:

  • They have had real issues with #COVID19: If they've been personally affected by the various, of course it's fine to step away for the moment. This can include death, illness, loss of job, whatever. Selling with empathy is another core fundamental belief of mine, and I'd be betraying that one, too, if I thought otherwise.

  • Concrete Next Steps: Vagueness is the ultimate kiss-off. The more vague they are with you about next steps, the less serious they actually are. This is true in normal sales life and #COVID19 sales life. That's just a stone cold fact. They can be thinking about it...but is there action involved? Are they doing a socially safe stadium tour? Are they willing to get the people involved in the decision on the phone with you? Are they willing to get emails/calls from you in the short run as they wait out #COVID19? Are they opening the emails/picking up the phone to those?

  • Not now, but when?: 'Not now' is the twin sibling of 'maybe'. And while #COVID19 is still rampant, and we are not selling tickets in abundance, we should treat people with dignity and respect when they say, 'Not now.' BUT we need to walk away with a specific follow-up time. Just politely stepping away allows the conversation to dissipate away. Creating a firm time and a calendar for soft touchpoints along the way will give you a chance.

I'm fine with 'maybe' under the current circumstances...so long as it's not something meant to lead a #sportsbiz sales rep on. The best sales reps are constantly, intently focused on getting answers. It may take more time now, and we may hit more 'maybe's' along the way, but answers are still king. Get them!