Turn a hard no into a yes with the easiest follow-up technique I know

by Steli Efti
phone call 2-min

Every sales rep hates hearing no. But it’s just part of the job, right? You can’t win every deal and when a prospect turns you down, it’s time to just move on. But hearing no doesn’t always mean you did something wrong. You might just be talking to the wrong person.

This small shift in thinking can have a profound impact on your sales outreach and follow-up success. And all it takes is trying one simple strategy I recently discovered: HUCA (Hang up and call again).

Today, I’m going to share a quick story about how I learned the power of HUCA and how you can use it as part of your own sales and follow up strategy.

How I learned to stop taking “no” as a final answer

Airlines are rarely known for their customer support. And as someone whose job involves a lot of flying, I should know this. But for some reason, I thought things would be different when I recently called up my airline and tried to change the details on an upcoming flight.

Within minutes, the support agent told me there was absolutely no way they could make the changes I wanted without it costing a ridiculous amount of money.

So, I did what I do best. I used every sales strategy and negotiation tactic in the book. But the agent wouldn’t budge. From their perspective there was absolutely nothing they could do to help me.

Like most people, my response to this sort of situation would be to give up. I’d called. Spoken with the right person. Did all the right things. And still didn’t get the response I wanted. But I didn’t want to give up. So I asked one of my cofounders what he would do in this situation.

Here’s what he said:

“You should just HUCA. I typically have to hang up, call back and talk to 4–5 agents until I find the one that will solve my problem.”

It seemed too simple not to try. And 3 HUCAs later, I’d spoken to an agent who didn’t just change my flight details, but did it for free and included an upgrade.

If you’re not getting the answer you want, try talking to someone else

Let’s think about this story for a second: I was dealing with the same company. Same support phone line. Same type of support agent most likely with the same training.

The only difference was the actual person I was talking to.

This is a powerful lesson for everyone, but especially sales reps. No matter what you’re selling, who you’re talking to, and how many times they tell you no, you’re still dealing with a human being.

A no from that individual person doesn’t necessarily mean a no from the entire organization. In fact, 99.9% of the time it’s been my experience that prospects are only speaking from their perspective and based on their experience of a call.

Once you recognize this, you’ll see how there are so many variables that are out of your control. From what’s going on in your prospect’s workday (or personal life), to simply the timing of your call.

If you’ve done the research and know what you’re selling will be beneficial to them, why give up after one no?

Using HUCA as a follow-up strategy lets you see if your product is the problem. Or if the prospect is.

Just because someone tells you no, doesn’t mean it can’t be done

I’m known for being persistent. I’ve written extensively about the follow-up formula and how you have to continue go back again and again to get what you want. But learning about HUCA reminded me that I still have blind spots where I accept ‘no’ as final and unchangeable.

Almost every interaction in life—from booking airlines tickets to making sales—comes down to a personal connection. This means the question you have to continually ask isn’t just “Is my product or service the right fit?” But also “Is this prospect the right person to talk to?”

Just because you got a no from a prospect doesn’t mean that company is a dead end. Hang up. Call again. And try to find the person who is willing and able to give you the result you’re looking for.

Here’s my challenge to you: For the next 30 days, I want you to try HUCA for yourself. Whenever someone tells you you’re not a right fit or their company “can’t do that” I want you to hang up, call again, and try your approach with someone new. Write up your results and let me know in the comments below.

Ready to take your follow-up strategy to the next level? Grab a free copy of my book, "The Follow-up Formula"

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