Turning a "No" into "More"Posted 5 months ago by Nick Boulton

Sales and recruitment can be a challenging and often unpredictable field. One of the most common obstacles we all face is the dreaded "no".

The key to success in recruitment is not just about securing a deal but also about building lasting relationships and understanding your client or candidate's needs. You need the ability, understanding, and skill to turn a "no" into a "tell me more" by employing the art of persuasion. And in this current climate of cost-cutting and downsizing, recruitment is not overly high on people’s priority lists. 

So, how do you keep the door ajar to opportunities that seem lost? 

Some of these seem obvious, but many have been forgotten, overlooked, or just not needed in 2021 and 2022 because literally, everyone was saying “YES”. 

Here is what is important to implement in 2024 if you want to be successful. 


Listen actively

When a prospective client or candidate says "no," it's essential to let them express their concerns without interruption. This demonstrates your respect for their opinion and allows you to understand their objections better. Once you've identified the objections, it's time to address them one by one. Provide information, solutions, or counterarguments that directly address their concerns. This will provide you the opportunity to emphasise the benefits and value you can offer. Express your desire to help and be of service but respect their decision if they remain uninterested. 


Ask open-ended questions and show a willingness to flex

To encourage a meaningful dialogue, ask open-ended questions that prompt them to share more about their objections, concerns, or misgivings. For example: "Could you tell me more about what's holding you back?" or "What specifically concerns you about X?" This invites them to share their thoughts and feelings, providing valuable insights. Offer alternatives if the objection is related to specific fees, costs, or timings. This shows your flexibility and willingness to tailor your offer to their needs, making it more appealing. 



Empathy is a powerful tool in sales. It shows that you genuinely care about their needs and concerns. Phrases like "I understand your concerns" or "I appreciate your honesty" can go a long way in building rapport and trust. Not every call needs to turn into a deal, so play the long game and prove you are willing to invest in your relationship. Sales as a career is about the relationships you build that stand the test of time, recessions, lockdowns, and meltdowns, not just the here and now.


Follow up and create a sense of urgency

If they aren’t ready to commit immediately, don't give up, don’t pester them, but follow up at a later date. Circumstances change all the time, and they might be more receptive in the future. A well-timed follow-up can turn a "no" into a “maybe” or even a "yes." Creating a sense of urgency is vital to motivating someone to make a decision. Highlight market conditions, the lack of top talent on the market, or what their competitors are doing. You need to be knowledgeable enough that you are giving them tangible examples of real-world experiences.


In the world of sales, hearing a "no" is a common experience. However, by employing the art of persuasion, active listening, a touch of empathy, and strategic approaches, you can turn a "no" into a "tell me more." 

Remember, it's not just about making a sale but also about building relationships and understanding your market. Building trust and addressing objections can lead to successful conversions and long-term loyalty.