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  • Brett Zalaski

What do I do with a 'Maybe'?

We've all been told 'Maybe's' are the worst thing in sales. And they are. 'Yes'' and 'No's' mean that we are engaging the right prospects...'maybe' means something, on our side or the buyer's, went wrong. Meaning, if we do the sales process appropriately, we get an answer. If we don't...we don't. And we also know that 'maybe's' also don't get back to us. Ever. We chase and chase and chase...but never hear from them again.


And let's not kid ourselves, 'maybe's' happen...all the time. No matter how well trained, or how hard we work, we'll always let someone off the phone without appropriately selling them or qualifying them. Now, most of the time these 'maybe's' will be 'no's'. That's something we all have to be 'ok' with as we move forward here...but the more 'no's' we get from 'maybe's', the more 'yes'' we'll get, too.


All that said, here are my top 3 ways to turn 'maybe's' to answers ASAP:

  1. Let them know that 'no' is an acceptable answer! Statistically speaking we are going to get way more 'no's' than 'yes'' in sales. So lean in to it! From the start of the conversation let your prospect's know that it's fine if it doesn't work out right now. The more comfort they have in giving you an answer, the more likely they'll get you an answer. Here's the hidden awesome kicker...if they have more comfort with you in the sales process, they'll be more likely to buy from you! The more comfort they have to say 'no' to you, the more likely they'll be to say 'yes'! How about that for some reverse psychology?

  2. Get the 'maybe', engage your resources! Ok, they said 'maybe'. Traditionally this was the time to sit back and wait. I'm saying do the opposite. Spring into action. Can you have a manager call them? Can you get one of your coaches to write a hand-written note? Can you send them some swag? Can you invite them to the stadium? The minute you're off the phone with that 'maybe', it's time to go into resource-deployment mode. We work for a pro sports team with tons of amazing resources that people will respond to at our disposal...use them to show our clients that we want to earn their business. Don't sit back...attack!

  3. Have a specific follow-up time...and hold them accountable to it. 'I'll call you back next week,' is not an acceptable follow-up timeline. 'Tomorrow at 2 pm,' works just fine. Even if the person has to talk to someone else, the timeline for follow-up needs to be as specific as possible. Once they start dictating the timeline, they'll start delaying the timeline. The better we control the process, the more they do the actions they say they will, the better the chance we have to get a real answer back from them. If they don't do what they say? Call them out on it! They're now wasting your time and their time. That's not good for anyone.

We can sit here and say that 'maybe' is the worst answer. That's super easy. They've even written books about that. That said, we all know that 'maybe's' happen. Whether we choked in the sales process, got caught off guard, or got a legitimate reason why they needed to take more time, 'maybe's' will always be a part of what we need to tackle everyday in our sales career. That all said, it does not mean we still shouldn't chase 'yes'' and, more importantly, 'no's'. Proactively handling 'maybe's' will be a critical differentiator when it comes to ultimate sales success. Follow the advice above, and you'll get less 'maybe's'...and 'WTF's'!