I remember sitting at my desk in my home office in late 2016 and my good friend Simon called. He and I were in a sales training course and both working on improving our ability to overcome the fear of rejection. He was procrastinating and calling me to say hi and see how I was going and I was a willing accomplice!
I explained to him that I had been filling out my tracker and monitoring the numbers of people I had been reaching out to and that I was finding it hard to keep the motivation up. He asked me to go through my numbers and kindly listened to my complaining. And then he stopped me and said:
‘You know what? Can I make an observation?’
‘Sure’, I said.
‘What I’m hearing is that you’re focused on the outcome and not on the task. You know that what you’re doing is right, you just have really high expectations for yourself and you’re so focused on people saying “yes”. This seems to be creating a lot of pressure for you and that might be sending a message of desperation to your customer.’
He said, ‘Have you thought about focussing on the “nos”, instead?’
I stopped and had to think about what he was asking me. Then I said, ‘Of course I’m not focussed on the nos. I’m not celebrating failure! I want yesses!’
He said, ‘Well if the targets you’ve set are right, all you need to do is get through potentially nine “nos” to get to one “yes”. So, just celebrate the progress of getting through your nos. It’s not the same as celebrating failure. You’ll get a yes at some stage anyway’.
This was life changing advice for me. I’d never thought about it this way.
Celebrating Your Nos (and Why It’s Not the Same as Celebrating Failure)
As American billionaire and entrepreneur Mark Cuban says, ‘The word “no” leads many of us to see it as a failure. “No” comes in different forms: the test you just failed, the interview that didn’t lead to a job and the person who tells you “you can’t”. We look at that “no” often enough to never go near it again.’
‘“No” does not mean defeat, however. It is an opportunity to get closer to the “yes” for which you are searching. Do not let the “nos” of life impact your goals. “Nos” are part of your story, and if you persist, they will lead to many “yeses”, which often turn out to be better than the opportunities for which the “no’s” would have provided.’
Your Nos Have Value
In the course I was in they ran a study at one point to identify the value of a meeting. The data was taken from over 150 people and the measure was taken on the number of sales and the number of sales meetings. In our analysis, we determined that even a meeting where nothing was sold was worth $2,450. So, even if the client said ‘no’, there was still a lot of value in the meeting.
This makes you understand the value of each person you speak to. Even if they say no, it’s still valuable. Every no is getting you closer to a yes!
If you can embrace this into your business, you’ll find that you can surrender to the process and let go of the unnecessary pressure on yourself. That means you can show up more authentically and be lighter, less attached to the outcome and more focused on how you can improve your own performance and the success of your business.
A Growth Mindset
In the book Mindset, Carol Dweck, identifies that people improve their performance over time by focusing less on the result and more on their effort and progress. She terms this a ‘growth mindset’.
Keep Putting Yourself Out There, Despite the Nos
Know that you’re going to get nos, no matter what you do and celebrate them. Most importantly, you need to continue putting yourself out there. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. And if you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t build your brand, your business or career. So, look forward to the nos knowing they’re bringing you closer to a yes!
I’d love to hear your thoughts…