An assertive person believes that they have options and free choice. Any decisions are made independently, without considering the expectations of others. Unfortunately, many people feel an obligation to seek approval, and as a result, don’t choose for themselves.
Assertive characteristics and attitudes
Free choice does not mean we isolate ourselves when making decisions. Instead, assertive individuals seek guidance and wisdom from others; they make their own choice after listening.
Manipulation, shame and guilt do not force assertive people to say “yes” or “no.” When faced with correction or feedback from others, the assertive person listens, receives the advice with an open heart, before saying thank you with humility.
Personally, I’ll always listen to corrections and feedback from those I trust and then I’ll pray, but ultimately, I decide for myself.
Disqualifying the prospect
An assertive salesperson, business owner or technician can say “no” to a prospect without offending – not every prospect is a good fit for your business.
From my experience
When I lived Manhattan, I remember being disqualified by a salesperson at a high-end stereo systems store. I walked into the store and explained I was in the market for a microphone for my computer that would produce quality sound.
Quickly, he disqualified me; it was direct and honest. In this store, the price point started at $15,000 for a stereo system, and I didn’t correspond with the target client, and rightly, the salesperson didn’t want to waste his time.
Lessons in free choice
Currently, I’m working with a client – in a small company – who feels uncomfortable saying “no.” Through my guidance, the client is learning to decline any calls that do not propel his business to 20% net profits. The problem: he feels guilty when he says “no.”
Use valuable time wisely
Recently, this client spent five hours appeasing people not his pre-defined target audience. A new construction quote came in, followed by a prospect seeking the best price.
New construction quote
He should have said “no.” The client spent valuable time providing a construction estimate at residential replacement margins, which will never be competitive.
When approached with new construction estimates, I always said we don’t do new construction. Often, they asked why. And my response was invariably the same; we only do high-value service. Our customers are homeowners who want clean, professional technicians who are highly skilled and good listeners. Moreover, they select expensive, high-quality products that come with dependable service.
I want my client to do the same, and in time he will.
The best price prospect
Again, he should have been assertive; prospects asking for the best price rarely become loyal clients. Free the space and time they occupy with clients who value quality and don’t demand low prices.
Best price vs. lowest price
Disqualify them quickly without offending them. Directly ask a question such as this, “Mr. Prospect, when you say you want the best price, do you mean the lowest price or my best price? I always give the best price. My fear is though that you are looking for the lowest price in the market or a low-price based on market prices, which I cannot offer.”
I never justified my pricing.
“I can, however, offer you high-quality service, but it will be expensive.”
My prices reflected the service I provided and were the prices I needed to reach my net profit goals. To achieve 20% net profit, we had to disqualify those who would not propel us in that direction.
When a prospect asks: “why you are so expensive?”
Reverse the question, and ask them: “That’s a good question Mr. Prospect but let me ask you a question, why do YOU think we are more expensive than the competitors?”
Often, the prospect will convince themselves why they should purchase from you.
The last thing you want to do is obtain business because you’re the cheapest. We do not build loyalty in this way. Another company will arrive on the scene offering the lowest prices, and the customers will move to them.
Similar to my experience in the stereo store in Manhattan, I disqualified new construction contracts in the same way.
Define your business identity:
Just like there is nothing wrong with stereos sold at discount retailers, there is nothing wrong with the new construction market. However, my business didn’t serve the new construction market, and that store on the Upper-East Side didn’t serve low-spending customers searching for a computer microphone.
Success comes from many angles. One of the most important yet least applied methods is learning when to say “no.” Resist saying “yes” reluctantly to see real business growth.
I welcome your comments and feedback.