When They Can’t Say No

February 23rd 2010

When They Can’t Say No

In selling I’ve often found that people hate to say “no.” Perhaps they’re trying to be kind or just don’t want to seen as negative so they’ll delay returning phone calls or emails. Rather than say “no”, they’d like to slip out of it by not answering at all. This puts you in an endless “Waiting For Godot” situation.

Years ago a partner and I were pitching a film idea to a wealthy couple who indicated they’d like to finance the documentary we’d developed. This was over drinks at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC. The fun-filled evening concluded with “yes, we’ll have our accountant call you.”

When they left, we were ecstatic. Being young and naive, we believed them and foolishly spent money we shouldn’t have, celebrating our new investors. The only trouble was that we never heard from their accountant and could not reach either of them on the phone.

The point is that some people just can’t say no. Whether it’s brides-to-be or marketing dudes. If they could say “no”, it would make business so much cleaner and easier. Not getting to “no” is frustrating and a waste of your time.

One strategy I’ve found for getting a timely answer is to set a clear deadline. You may think this risks losing the sale, but most businesses are used to time limits included on bids. And time limits sound reasonable to consumers so most will go for it without question. It’s a grown-up way to do business. It reduces stress and makes good sense for both parties.

If a corporate client takes a long time to get a decision, just ask where they are in the process. And if someone asks for an extension, ask how long they need and give them that time.

The secret to doing this the right way is to be calm, professional, and non-confrontational. Tell them you want their business, but you believe that a clear “no” is as important as a “yes.” You could put it in writing as “This bid and pricing is good for thirty days.”

This will help your business. If you make it part of your pitch, you will never find yourself waiting for the answer that never comes.

Another thing that will help your business is having a clear contract with your customer. For business videos, we recommend Letters of Agreement

And for wedding videos we have a collection of 11 wedding video contracts on the companion CDROM to our newly revised book Wedding Video For Profit

Another Way to Make Money In Video

Invest in Netflix (NFLX). May sound like a joke, but it’s not. This movie rental giant does streaming the right way. In January Netflix logged over 127 million views. They just became one of the top 20 video sites on the web. At the rate they are growing, they could be heading for the top 15, close to Facebook and ESPN.

They clearly believe that streaming is their future. I, for one, watch several movies a week via Netflix streams. At $9 a month, I don’t think you’ll find a better deal anywhere. There’s no limit on how many movies you can watch for the same monthly fee.

Netflix also just announced the addition of some 300 more indie films to their streaming catalog. And during their quarterly earnings report last week, they revealed that nearly half of their subscribers are now streaming some content.

I’ve found the most obscure films on their site including independent, foreign films, and documentaries that I’ve always wanted to see. Think of a movie or film you’ve wanted to see, but couldn’t find. Chances are it’s in their catalog. I’ve been a member for over five years.

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