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Is That A ‘No’ Or A ‘Not Yes’?

18 April 2024

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – Clients very rarely say ‘No’ to your Financial Planning pitch.

Of course, most of the time, they are hopefully saying ‘Yes’ – but even when they say ‘No’ they don’t normally say ‘No’.

Instead, they give you variations on one of two lines, either:

‘I need to think about it.’


‘It’s not the right time.’

Both of them are what I call Camouflage Statements.

In themselves, they are meaningless. They tell you nothing.

‘I need to think about it’ – Need to think about WHAT, specifically?

Is it Fees? Timescales? You? – Which element is not sitting right in their head?

If you don’t know, you can’t help them get over it.

‘It’s not the right time’.

No problem – Can you describe what the right time would look like?

And, as with all things in life, you’ll see that the right time will never come.

These statements are designed to hide the real reason – to camouflage it.

So how do we deal with it?

Well, first we must identify which of the two camps they fall into.

If it is a deliberate Camouflage Blanket, your client knows they are not going to go ahead and why they are not going to go ahead – they’re just too nice to tell you to your face.

But we can’t be naïve in genuinely coming out of the room thinking we’ve got a chance when really, we haven’t.

We’re just wasting our time following it up whilst the client dodges saying ‘No’.

The best thing to do is to deal with it head on – make it OK for them to say ‘No’ now.

Simply ask your client, ‘If you go away and think about it, what do you think is the most likely reason you’ll say ‘No’?’

And they’ll tell you.

That gives you chance to deal with it there and then. You may win the business, you may not.

But at least you’re not punching in the dark.

The other type is Unconscious Camouflage.

The client themselves do not know what element they need to think about or what the right time would look like.

They’re not hiding the reason from you. They’re hiding it from themselves.

This is a coaching issue for you.

Maybe there’s elements of your service they haven’t understood.

Maybe there’s something they haven’t said, and therefore haven’t been dealt with, so your pitch is not hitting the spot.

Maybe there’s stuff that’s happened in the past that is influencing how they think and act today.

Whatever it is, we need to find it.

To help both the client and ourselves.

Even if we can’t get it to a ‘Yes’, it’s better to come away with a ‘No’.

Because a ‘No’ and a ‘Not Yes’ are two very different things. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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