Negative Reverse Selling: Here’s How You Close Stalling Deals

Published by Agnee Ghosh on

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In the world of sales, a simple “no,” can seem like a definite end of the conversation.


But it doesn’t have to end at that point because a good salesperson has a few tricks up his sleeves that can take advantage of a negative and turn that into a positive.


Now, it’s impossible to convert every lead into a customer. But, some strategies do exist that can turn an ambiguous prospect into a raving customer.




One way is through negative reverse selling.


What Is Negative Reverse Selling?

Negative reverse selling is a sales strategy that employs an entirely different approach from the one used in conventional selling methods.


This is called reverse psychology.


Reverse psychology is defined as “a tactic that involves advocating for a behavior that is different than the desired outcome. The idea is that by pushing for the opposite of what you really want, the other individual will actually choose to engage in the behavior that is truly desired.”


Negative reverse selling is a sales strategy that uses reverse psychology. In a typical sales conversation, there are worries, objections, and concerns from potential clients. Salespeople must overcome these obstacles in order to close the deal.


Where Did Negative Reverse Selling Come From?

In 1967, David H. Sandler developed negative reverse selling as part of the Sandler Selling System. The system’s objective is to have reps be guides rather than being salesmen who are just trying to close deals. It needs sales reps to focus on active conversations and align with a buyer’s resolve.


You don’t need to utilize the negative reverse selling method for all deals; it is only necessary when the situation is challenging to overcome.


Some people use negative reverse selling to gauge the reaction of their customers rather than rushing to close a transaction at the first opportunity.


As Sandler puts it, this is like fishing.


Imagine that you’re out on the water, casting a line. After some time, you feel a bite. You don’t immediately set the hook, but you let the fish run some of the line.


Fisherman, be patient at this crucial time. It’s best to let the fish take the bait so they can catch themselves. The negative reverse sales method is all about guiding the conversation in the direction that your customers want to go. All that’s left is to pull the line tight and release the fish.


Why Is Negative Reverse Selling so Effective?

You’ll never be able to convince a prospect to buy from you if they themselves don’t want to. They’ll fight back. The common hurdle is that there is a desire to buy, yet there is a reluctance to be marketed to.


In a typical situation, salespeople will reply to objections or concerns from customers in a compelling way. But the prospects are prepared to push back if the sales representative tries to persuade them too aggressively.


The only way you can get them to do what you want is to tug them in the opposite way. Their natural inclination to ‘draw away’ from sales representatives will lead them in the direction you desire.


The customer must be led to believe that the solution is in the product that you’re selling. Your potential buyer will then believe that it was their idea all along if you correctly implement negative reverse selling techniques.


They develop their own rationales for why the product or service you’re offering is a good idea, why they’re prepared, and why they have what they need.


It’s all about going backward in order to move forward with the prospect!


The Benefits of Negative Reverse Selling

Negative reverse selling is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Take into account the following:


It helps to expedite the sales process: “I’ll get back to you,” or “I’ll hold a meeting with my staff and let you know” are some of the responses you’ve received repeatedly from a prospect. Negative reverse selling helps you to either close the deal or remove them from the prospect list. It saves you both time and energy in the long run.


It improves your position: Reverse selling places you in a position of strength and confidence, encouraging buyers to take a deeper look at your product or service.


It convinces customers that they require your goods or service: The scarcity theory is put into effect via negative reverse selling. A sense of loss is triggered when you take the offer off the table or hint at doing so, making the prospect believe that they genuinely need or desire what you’re offering.


It allows you to go on to the next prospect interested in what you have to offer: It’s possible that your product or service isn’t a good fit for the customer.


It can help you get out of a bind: As a last resort, you can say something like “Maybe now isn’t the right time” or “Perhaps we’re not a good fit” to someone who is reluctant to say “no.”


These statements make it easy for the prospect to decline the offer, allowing you to move on to the next opportunity. The customer may even tell you why they are not interested in your product. That’s valuable information for the sales team.


How to Implement Negative Reverse Selling Properly

Negative reverse selling isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t work in every sales situation. It shouldn’t be used as a primary means of sales, but rather as a backup strategy, only when absolutely essential.


We will discuss some of the best strategies for negative reverse selling.

Recognize when negative reverse selling is appropriate.


Among these are:

  • Prospects who repeatedly postpone or cancel appointments for demos or phone conversations.
  • When they don’t respond quickly enough.
  • When clients say they need to think about it or discuss it with another stakeholder.
  • When people challenge your pricing, value, method, delivery, and other things.
  • When a potential customer says “maybe” as an answer.
  • Prospects who don’t want to talk to you.


You are unable to acquire an unequivocal “yes” or “no” from your customers in any of these situations. If you give them the push in the other way, it may save you time and lead them to your products or services.


If you’ve had a few cancellations or missed appointments in the past, don’t let it affect your outlook on the future. The most important thing here is to look for recurring patterns.


If someone cancels a demo once, there’s a good chance they have a solid reason. Depending on the situation, the customer may also need to consult with their supervisor, partner, or someone else before agreeing to a deal.


Negative reverse selling might be used if the customer keeps making excuses or always seems to be unavailable.


Know your audience

Use the strategy on the right individuals at the right time, based on your knowledge of your prospects. They may easily “agree” to your negative comment without putting up a struggle. Agreeable and passive folks are not the ideal fit for this sales strategy.


A-type players who enjoy making decisions or competitive people who need to prove themselves are the perfect targets for your negative reverse selling.


Negative reversal sales power phrases that work


There are several different ways in which negative reverse selling works.


Some situations necessitate asking probing questions to get new information while other situations may hint at you triggering FOMO (fear of missing out) in a prospect.


Make a statement that makes it appear as though you’re encouraging the opposite of what you want them to accomplish.


  • “Not everyone will be satisfied with our offering.”
  • “This product is not for you if…”
  • “Don’t buy anything if you’re not sure if it’s right for you.”
  • “If I understand you correctly, this service isn’t high on your list of priorities at the moment.”
  • “If you don’t appear interested in the offer, we should probably just drop it.”
  • “I’m not interested in wasting your time, so this will be the final email I write you.”
  • “Does this fit within your budget?”
  • “We think our product or service might be out of your price range.”
  • “Since I haven’t heard from you in a while, I’m going to presume you’ve lost interest in the offer.”
  • “I think we should re-evaluate if this product/service is the right fit for your needs.”


There are no hard and fast rules on when to use these remarks, as each situation and customer is unique.


Adding soothing phrases or inquiries before negative remarks is also a smart habit. Before “our answer may not be the best fit,” you may say, or for example, “You’re right,” or “I get it.”


Regardless of what you decide to say to the potential customer, always be courteous. You don’t want to come across as arrogant, even if you project confidence and authority.


Don’t go overboard

You don’t have to undersell your products in order to do negative reverse selling. Even if you’re implying that your product doesn’t work for your consumers, you should avoid openly pointing out their inadequacies or giving them reasons not to buy.


Knowing when to halt negative reverse selling is essential. Don’t push the consumer away as soon as they start responding to your requests more frequently. Help reel them in without being too eager.

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Categories: Sales

Agnee Ghosh

Agnee Ghosh is a freelance content writer who writes about SaaS and eCommerce companies. She generates leads for these businesses by writing actionable content based on research.

Nilangan Ray, Marketing Head Nilangan from Salespanel

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