I used to pass an auto-repair shop with a big sign out front that read: “Specializing in all makes and models.”

I never felt much inclination to stop and get my car serviced there.

You can understand the owner’s dilemma. If he specializes in Fords or Chevys or Toyotas, he’s going to be sitting in his garage bay watching Chryslers and Hondas passing him by. And the truth is, he probably does know how to work on any kind of car. So why not say yes to everybody?

The owner might have been a terrific mechanic. But not much of a salesperson. Salespeople know that a “we do it all” claim lacks credibility.

However, when they’re in hot pursuit of a sale they can forget that simple truth. Suddenly, they too specialize in all makes and models. Whatever the buyer needs, they can handle.

It might even be true. And if you can prove it, good for you. But before you say yes to everything, consider the impact on the buyer of all those yeses. Will the buyer think, “Wow, I’m lucky enough to have found the single most qualified vendor in the business”? Or “This salesperson will promise me anything to get my business”?

A single well-placed “no” will tell your buyer that you’re a salesperson who can be trusted. By doing so, you communicate two important things: One, that you’re highly focused on the most important issues. And two, you can be counted on to tell customers the truth. And that’s a good day’s work in sales.

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