The most difficult answer you can receive from a future customer is ‘maybe’ or ‘let me think about it’. Why is ‘maybe’ so bad? First, it’s not a yes, thus we aren’t able to start a partnership. If a future partner says ‘no’, we should be able to leave the meeting with feedback and constructive ways to alter our plan of action moving forward. However, a “maybe” doesn’t tell us anything. You may find yourself in a constant waiting period with no clear answer on how to turn the maybe into a ‘yes’.
How do you move forward? The best thing to do is follow up during the meeting and ask the following questions:
If your contact is not the final decision maker, ask if they would it, if they were? Whether it is yes or no, ask them to explain why to help you better understand them and what they value.
Confirm the business objectives you were trying to accomplish with your proposal, and ask if they feel what presented will yield results that will meet and exceed the objective. This in turn has the prospective partner selling your solutions back to you.
If up until this point you are aligned and their answer is still ‘no’, it’s safe to assume their hesitation is due to investment level, so the next question you ask: Is the proposed investment an amount your comfortable investing? Why or why not?
While the single answer worse than ‘no’ to get in sales is ‘maybe’, your response and follow up will steer you in the right direction and lead you towards winning partnerships in the future.