What to do When a Buyer Says No

Have you’ve ever been told, “sorry but we’re not adding any lines right now, send me a line sheet or contact me next season”? 

If you’ve been in sales long enough these daunting words sound oh so familiar. 

So, what in the heck do you do when so many buyers are declining left and right. Give up? Call a ton of times until the buyer gives in? or politely say, “I understand and thank you for your time. 

Wrong Move! Let’s pause here for a minute. 

When a buyer tells you no, it literally can be SEVERAL reasons.  It's not necessarily that your product sucks and they do not want to carry it. The thing is, buyers are constantly on the lookout for new and different products. So, what does that mean to you? It simply means that you must position and present your product in a different way. 

So, you’ve called, stop by and emailed and still, the answer remains no.  The next step you take should be very strategic. 

Here’s what you will do:

what to do and say when a buyer says no

Scenario #1
Buyer Says: “Contact me next season”
Description: Buyer likes your product but is on the fence about introducing a new brand.

Response Strategy: 
•    Find out what’s important to them when purchasing a product like yours (i.e. ask the buyer, “When purchasing headwear, what is important to you?”). 
•    Reach out to them before next season by periodically visiting their store(s), asking about store projects and informing them on happenings with the brand.
•    Send articles, press or collaboration information about your brand (For example: send the buyer one to two pieces of info per month).  

Scenario #2
Buyer Says: “Send me a line-sheet”
Description: Buyer tries to politely tell you they would like to see the product before committing to a meeting OR simply they are too busy to speak at the moment.

Response Strategy:
•    Respond by asking questions that uncover their issues, pain points or concerns. 
•    Be sure to send a line-sheet with only three to four items on it that tie back to the apparel or other accessories in their store.
•    Price is important - in your line sheet highlight product that sits in the “sweet spot”- (meaning send medium price range info).
•    Phone the buyer after sending over the line sheet then start a conversation with a question. Make sure you pause and allow them to answer while beginning to explain how the items shown in the line sheet resolves their issue or concern.

Scenario #3: 
“We're not adding any lines right now”
Description: Buyer may have little to no open buy dollars OR You are not mentioning how your product will be of benefit to them.

Response Strategy:
•    Contact 4-5 weeks after the buyer has told you no. You are simply dropping a few lines via email, small talking over phone or popping by to say hello. You are NOT selling. 

•    When speaking with the buyer remember to compliment on one thing you genuinely like about their store, website or so forth.

•    2 weeks later send them a note and mention how great it was catching up with them. You also should attach a few of your best sellers based on the store’s vibe and values. (remember: your list should only consist of product that's different from what they currently carry and are aligned with the current assortment.

•    Call back 2 to 3 weeks later and ask for the appointment. 

•    Keep track of customers who told you “No, Not Now or Contact Me Next Season” Separate from your current customer list. 

•    Strive not to drive the same buyer crazy with multiple calls. If you are contacting the same person over and over; consider expanding your prospecting list. 

Being told no over and over is disappointing. 

However, it doesn’t mean throw your towel in and give up. 

Instead, you must reset yourself by:

  1. Believing you can and will sell 
  2. Eradicating negative talk 
  3. Re-organizing 
  4. Finding new prospects 
  5. Positioning your product differently 
  6. Closing the deal. 

You’ve got this!