“No” can be a disheartening word when you work in sales. It can signify rejection, wasted time and less money. That might be why nearly half of salespeople (44%) give up after just one attempt. While it’s never easy getting turned down, how you respond to the “no” makes all the difference.

John Hill, the founder of Adapted Growth, says responding in the right way can help you save deals in the future and may even turn around the deal you thought you just lost. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share Hill’s strategies for how to handle prospects who ultimately turn you down.  

Express gratitude. Even if things don’t pan out the way you had hoped, the prospect still spent time with you. Tell them you appreciate that and that you hope they consider you when working together makes more sense. Hill says you may even want to explain you’d rather hear a “no” than a “maybe” or “we’ll see.” And if they tell you no, be sure to thank them for their honest answer.

Request feedback. It’s important to know what led to the no, but you should approach the discussion delicately. Hill says you don’t want to make the prospect feel guilty or defensive when they explain their reasons. He says you’ll usually get a helpful response when the prospect knows you’re trying to improve. Listen for missed opportunities in what you hear. They might be looking for something that you don’t currently provide. Or, you may have missed a question or pain point that would have closed the deal.

Take steps to improve. The truth can be difficult to hear sometimes, but it can help you grow as a sales professional. Ask the prospect if there was something you could have done differently. Maybe you came across too strong or appeared too aggressive with your sales pitch. Understanding how others perceive you can help you in the long run, Hill says.

Hold no grudges. If you graciously accept the no, even when it’s not what you wanted to hear, you can help the other person feel more comfortable. Rejection doesn’t feel good for anybody, Hill says, so knowing how to respond to it can help you both move forward. At the very least, it shows that you don’t have any hard feelings and you’re open to having a discussion down the line.

Stay in touch. If the prospect decides to work with another promo company, ask them if you can still stay in touch. Things with the other company may not go as they had hoped, and this will show the prospect that you have their best interests in mind.

Sometimes deals fall apart for reasons completely out of your control. Remember to stay calm. If you get defensive or angry, the prospect will have no reason to want to work with you in the future. When you get turned down, keep the above tips in mind to handle the situation professionally and tactfully.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: John Hill is the founder of Adapted Growth and author of “Selling from Scratch.” He’s also a sales coach and podcaster.