Why is it so difficult to say no?

Sellers have what is called Cadence Calls or Sales Review on a regular basis. Depending on your organisation it could be either weekly , bi-weekly or monthly. Still those reviews typically follow always a very standard procedure which in short summary would pretty much like this:

  • Seller enters/updates his/her opportunities during the week in the CRM
  • CRM produces an extract of the opportunities which probably will be sorted by either amount, close date or sales stage
  • The extract is the base for the cadence call

The CRM system has what the seller is inputting into the system and should be based on his professional criteria. The theory would tell us that this should be good enough but the reality is that this is being reviewed by a manager and the seller. In all the calls I have been through on either side (seller or manager) I have always noticed a certain reluctance to say “No”.

There is a strong relation, I wished I had precise numbers on it, between:

  • how close to the end of Quarter or Fiscal year the Question is being asked
  • the amount of money at risk
  • the insistance on the questions

In short the closer you get to the end of the Quarter and the more money is on the table and questions like ” are you really sure that this opportunity will close in the quarter” the less likely the seller is to say “No”. I could think of a number of reasons of why the seller does not want to say No. Among them could be:

  • fear of being seen as a looser / not committed
  • Not having really all the data at hand to make a fact based decision
  • just saying yes because it is perceived to be the right thing

This reduces heavily the significance of the sales call since in those situations there is no truth and no real trust, for obvious reasons.

I have seen very seasoned sellers in sales calls in which their manager was really going over the edge and really personal shouting at them and they maintained their word which as, No! I asked one of them after the call why he did not simply say “Yes, I will do my utmost to get the deal in”. His answer was “Why should I be lying, this makes things only worse, there is no way that the deal can get closed in that timeframe”. Actually this person was absolutely right and I believe this will be true for most of those situations.

I am not sure if there is a specific way to eliminate cadence calls which are in short nothing else but a procedure with very reduced value. I would advocate to simply have the CRM updated with the right data and have just a review on what changed or where help is needed. This should be challenged by the seller and not the manager. I am quite convinced that this would help to reduce situation in which the right answer would have been “No” but a Yes was given. It would probably also help to increase the adoption of CRM and Analytics since the data in the system would be the real data.


About cnitschke

This blog is purely personal and reflects only my personal opinion. None of the content can be related in any way to my employer or former employers.
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