Turning a NO into a YES! Part 1
From my former life (before HLH), I have two examples for you of how to turn a NO into a YES! One example involves biting my tongue to help turn a NO into a YES, the second example (Part 2 tomorrow) involves believing in a project and being persistent to help turn an initial NO into a YES. Early on in my career hearing NO to any kind of sales pitch was crushing and made me sometimes think that YES was impossible, mainly because I had no idea how to sell early on. But after years of hearing NO’s and YES’s on a variety of projects pitched (design projects, consulting projects, marketing projects, retail product projects, property development projects) one learn’s that if the project being pitched is sound it is not that hard to turn an initial NO into a YES, and sometimes you just have to stick with it to turn that NO into a YES.
The first example is from about 10 years ago when I pitched a retail product. We had made the massive investments of a long design phase, and the large capital tooling costs that are required to bring a product to full fruition before taking it to the market. We went the full tooling route because we were confident in our design, our feature set, and our retail price points. We sold a lot of this product to multiple retailers over the year’s with our selected feature set and price points, but this one retail buyer just wasn’t buying our sales pitch. During the initial buyers meeting, he reminded me of Homer Simpson. Forgive me for a moment as I dive into the wonderful world of The Simpsons. It was that episode where Homer Simpson designs a car, the line that always stuck in my head was when Homer tells the design team “I want a horn here, here and here”. Simpsons Link. A wonderful example of when concentrated power can sink a ship, or in this case a car company, which, Homer being Homer obviously did.
This buyer was similar, dismissing just about everything we had done, redesigning the entire product (by way of feature set recommendations) in front of our eyes. At first, I thought, wow, this is a waste of time, but experience taught me to stay positive and stick with it as you never know what can happen. Experience also told me that this buyer liked to hear himself talk and liked it when we agreed with him. So, shut up Gary, agree, smile, laugh at his jokes, and see where this goes. An initial evaluation of our product by this buyer as “not good enough” and a firm NO slowly turned into a YES because we bit our tongues, stayed positive, and stroked this buyers ego. Now, even though we had turned a NO into a YES during the meeting, we still had to cost out new tooling to meet the newly designed feature set this buyer demanded and resubmit pricing, we held out slim hope that the new price would keep the YES a YES. We took a chance and to our shock, the YES stayed a YES. The retail price point was crazy, quantity ordered was way more than this retailer could move in our opinion, but they ordered this absurd amount and re-ordered a couple more times.
The follow-up reality to this example of turning a NO into a YES was that we made decent money from this retailer (paid via LC as we would never take a chance like that on terms), and we never sold this product configuration to anyone else because the pricing was nuts. The other reality is that this retailer ordered way too much and did not move half of the product that they ordered at a profitable price point. They also went out of business nationwide, no doubt because of countless examples of my story where one person with power, who wants “a horn here, here and here” can sink a ship.
Sometimes just bite your tongue, stay positive, and keep the sales pitch alive, you never know who you are dealing with, you never know what can happen, you never know when a NO can turn into a YES…example 2 tomorrow.
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