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YesAuthors and publishers hear the word “NO” frequently. It could be said by the media, distributors, buyers in retail stores, or corporate buyers. However, that doesn’t have to be the final answer. People who say no to one thing may be more likely to say yes if asked again. Use that fact to your advantage when selling to non-bookstore buyers . If your prospect says no, think, “I heard what you said but it’s not what you meant.” You can more easily get to yes when you recognize the top ten tips for getting to yes after you hear no.

  1. Show how you can solve their problems. Begin with an attitude of how you can solve peoples’ problems instead of thinking about how many books you can sell. Producers want a good show for their audiences, retail buyers want products moving off the shelf and corporate buyers want to sell more of their products.
  2. People are reluctant to admit they made a mistake. Once they say no, they will not change their minds unless given new information. Do not tell them they made a bad decision. Instead, agree with them. Take them by surprise by saying, “That’s exactly what I would have said based on the information you have. But if you consider this fact…”
  3. Silence may be the same as “no.” If you leave multiple voicemail messages but do not get a return call, change the message. Have a concise, 20-second message that gives the recipient a reason to call you back.
  4. Rejection is often due to situational factors. People may want to help you, but at the present time may be too busy. When cold calling on the phone, give the recipient a reason to listen to you, then ask, “Is this a good time to talk?”
  5. In general, people want to be helpful. If they say no too quickly they may feel bad and actually become more willing to help – if you persist professionally.
  6. Start high and work down to a lower level of commitment. Most children learn that if they want a hamster they first ask for a pony.
  7. The prospect – not your product – should be the focus. Do not begin the sales process by asking, “What do you think of my book?” Instead ask, “What can I do to help you?”
  8. The product form is a variable. If prospects want your content delivered as an audiobook they will say no to a printed book.
  9. Listen to your prospects. Try to uncover and sell to their interests, not their positions. Their position may be that they have never used a book as a premium before, so why start now? Their interests lie in selling more of their product, motivating employees or creating a safer workplace. Focus on their interests.
  10. Do not take no personally. Your prospects are not saying no, they are saying, “show me a way your content can help me and I’ll give it another look.” 


Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore.