How to Make an Effective Second Sales Effort

We have all experienced the obnoxious salesperson who just will not take no for an answer – the one who is still pitching hard even as we are hanging up the phone. Nobody wants to be that person, right? However, that approach usually does not work. Explore a four-step approach that does work – without turning you into that obnoxious won’t-take-no-for-answer salesperson.


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    Empathize. When prospects say no, their defenses are up. “Here is the rebuttal,” they think. “I have to get ready.” That is not all bad news. In fact, it may be the first time during the entire sales call that prospects are actively engaging. This means they are finally listening. If you empathize instead of offering a rebuttal, the prospects are off guard and the opportunity to connect is there.
    • Example: “Sure, I understand. You don’t know anything about my company, and you can’t see why a meeting would be worth your time"
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    Ask an unexpected question. This is the most critical step, and success depends on asking exactly the right question. You want to ask a question that changes direction and focuses the buyer on her favorite subject in the whole world: themselves, but specifically, their immediate needs. If you do it right, it surprises most buyers, because it shows you know their business and feel their pain.
    • Your question might be built around some recent piece of news or trend in your market. For example, “So let me ask: I’d guess you’re looking at something like a 15 percent hike in benefits costs next year. How prepared are you for dealing with that?”
    • If you can tailor the question to the prospect’s company, even better: “So, now that you’re about to merge with XYZ Corp., how concerned are you about integrating their CRM platform with your data?”
    • Most powerful of all is a question that is tailored to the individual: “When you spoke at the marketing association meeting last month, you mentioned that you’re facing pricing pressure from the big box retailers. How’s your company handling that pressure?”
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    Reinforce the benefit that you offer.
    • Example: "We have done work with companies facing big-box competitors. We might have some ideas that would work for you."
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    Nail down the commitment once you have restated the benefit. Do not leave the sale hanging after you have come this far.
    • Example: "Would it be worth a half hour of your time to find out? It will not take any longer than that. I can stop by your office on Thursday at 2, if that’s a good time for you."


  • You will not achieve your call objective every time, of course. Nevertheless, enough prospects will say yes on the second effort to make it worthwhile.

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Categories: Sales