The Conversation Technique That Creates New Clients, Using One Key Phrase [Case Study]
March 22, 2017
The Pep Talk We All Need (Part 2)
April 17, 2017

The Pep Talk We All Need (Part 1)

I was on a coaching call with a client recently when she paused, let out a huge sigh, and let her voice fall flat. We had been talking about her CRM implementation and her sales pipeline, when she paused….

“Leah, I think I just need a pep talk. A couple of things happened last week that, I don’t know, I just feel shitty about. Basically two potential clients said no, one right after the other, and it’s kind of thrown me for a loop.

I picked up my imaginary glass of wine, leaned in close (we were on the phone, but you get the gist), and said, “Tell me more.”


A Series of Unfortunate Events

“First, there was a potential client I had been talking to. He was really excited about our work, and we were finally moving forward. The day before our kickoff he called and said, ‘I’m so sorry, I found out last week that there’s a legal issue with a past client that I need to fight [this particular client is a lawyer]. I just can’t spend the money right now. I really want to work with you, but it’s looking like it’ll be about 6 months from now.”

“Hm, that’s a huge bummer. What else happened?”

“This other potential client, we had been talking to him about Service A, and he told me last week that he doesn’t want to go with that. I mean, he wants to hire us for Service B. But Service B isn’t ready yet.”

“Ok, so tell me how you’re feeling now.”

“Well… [She let out a big sigh]... I was just really counting on these two clients to come in. They just seemed like such a sure thing, and having both of them say “No” in the same week, it just kind of feels… I don’t know, pretty crappy.”

Oof. I know.


The Sales Cavern of Sadness

When you’re in business for yourself and you get a "No", I’m not going to sugar-coat it: it feels terrible. When you get more than one "No" at a time, it feels even worse. You start to doubt everything. “What if I can’t sign another client ever again?” “Why am I even in this business?”

Who knew that two totally coincidental events, happening in close proximity, could completely flatten you?

What’s worse, when you’re running your own business, there’s no one to talk you through this low, pick you up and dust you off.

But I have two strategies I’ve used to pull me out of the Sales Cavern of Sadness, and that you can use too. And neither one involves drowning your sorrows in a bottle of wine. #optional

I’ll go through Part 1 this week, and in the next post I’ll cover Part 2.


How pull yourself out of the Sales Cavern of Sadness, Part 1

Are your ears deceiving you?

As solopreneurs, and really as human beings, anything that feels even close to a “No” triggers all the emotions that come along with it.

It’s like your brain recognizes the HINT of something negative, and it radios to your body, “Run the Bad News Protocol.” You go into self-preservation mode: your chest contracts slightly, your cortisol rises, and most important: your brain stops listening.

Multiply that emotional response by 100 if you happen to be under any stress already, or if there’s anything less than stellar going on in any other part of your life.

But when that happens, you can miss something important. And as crazy as it sounds, sometimes what we initially hear as a “No”, really isn’t a “No” at all.

The trick to stop that is what I call Relax & Reframe . We’ll get to that in a second.

First, back to my client.


The Reframe

I asked her to talk through her conversation with the first prospect. When we did that, she realized something big: he didn’t actually say No. He said “Yes, in 6 months.” That’s still a Yes! It’ll hit your bottom line later, but it’s still a Yes.

I advised her to put a task in the CRM we had implemented, that says “Reach out to so-and-so”, set the due date for five months from "No"w, and don’t worry about it until then. If you don’t have a CRM you can do this in your to-do list or calendar.

We did the same walk-through for the second prospect, and my client realized something else: he didn’t say "No", he said, “Yes, but instead of giving you money for X, I’d like to give you money for Y.” That’s a Yes! In my client’s case, the new service isn’t quite ready, but that doesn’t mean that his response isn’t a Yes.

There’s so much you can do with a Yes like this one. You can invite him to be part of a Beta/Test Group for a reduced fee (which means you’d get paid sooner), you could offer a pre-payment option for a discount (which also gets you paid sooner), you can invite him to be an early VIP… there are so many ways to capitalize on this type of Yes.


Making It Work For You

The key to avoiding the “Sales Cavern of Sadness” is to stop the emotional response before it happens. To do that, you have to channel every ounce of your energy into staying in your rational mind.


How to Relax & Reframe

  1. Stay present - When you hear the faint rumblings of a "No", your brain starts diverting your attention away from the conversation. Stay in the moment, and keep your attention 100% focused on the conversation at hand.
  2. Listen, and keep listening - This is an offshoot of #1, but it bears repeating: keep listening to what your client is saying.
  3. Take notes - capture as much of what your client is saying as possible. This will be incredibly valuable because it’s the factual, vs. the emotional, record of the conversation.
  4. Identify the next step - For every delay or "No", there’s a next step that makes sense. “Should I follow up with you in a few months?” “Would you like to be included in the Beta program?” Always leave the conversation with a next step.
  5. Bring the next step onto your plate - Always take on the next step of the process; never put the responsibility on your clients’ plate. It’s the difference between, “Want to let me know when you’ve had a chance to decide?” and “Would it help if I followed up with you in a few weeks?”

Looking Ahead

When it comes to selling to potential clients, it’s inevitable that you’ll get a “No” here and there. But it’s important to remember that you’ll get many more “Yes’s”.

In the next post I’m going to tell you the other strategy I use when things feel crappy, that focuses on exactly how many “Yes’s” you can get.


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One More Thing...

Want to learn how to increase your win rate (and avoid the Sales Cavern of Sadness entirely)?? Check out my new FREE guide: 3 Steps To Consistently Close More Clients This Year. You’ll learn the three most important steps I tell all my clients, to help them sign new clients for their expertise-based businesses. See you over there!

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