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Startup sales: #4: Make it easier to say yes than no

First, second, third parts. Now fourth part:

#4: Make it easier to say yes than no

This is a simple one: make the default next step a positive one.

For example, if a sales lead has been going cold and you want to give them an ultimatum to react or be forgotten (which might be the right thing to do to spur them to action), don't end that communication with "if we don't hear back from you, we'll get in touch with you". End with something where it's easy to say yes.

For example: "I believe it makes sense for you to buy X since it will generate Y for you. Previously, you said Y was of interest. Please let me know if that's no longer the case." With this phrasing, they should, out of politeness (and assuming you haven't been a pest in previous communications), get back to you if they don't want to go ahead.

This is not a dishonest manipulation technique. It is simply about phrasing the question in such a way that the default is positive progress that brings you closer to a sale. It's the sales equivalent of asking an interviewer "So, if I get the job, when should I plan to get started?" rather than "So, if you don't reject me, when should I plan to get started?"

There are, of course, all sorts of further language tricks that you can use and abuse in the closing phase of the sales process, but this one is so important that it's worth highlighting separately. If you ask for a no, you're more likely to get a no.


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Learn to think big and small
You should probably send more email than you do
Startup Therapy: Ten questions