'No' Surrender

Learning to hear 'no' as valuable feedback from clients can take your sales efforts to the next level.

By Barry Farber

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No matter what you sell, you will inevitably face obstacles,rejections and refusals. You would think you might get used to thisreality over time. But unfortunately, no matter how many times wehear it, a "no" is often a tough thing to take. Itweakens our confidence level and hinders our ability to makesales.

Over the years, I've had as many rejections as anyoneelse--if not more. Here are three ways I've learned to copewith this fact of sales life:

1. It's only their opinion. When someone tells us noor says that what we are attempting can't be done, we tend tothink they're right, that it's not going to work. WhatI've learned is to look at that no as just one person'sopinion. It's not good or bad; it's just data coming in. Ican look at it, analyze it and make my next move even smarter. Whena prospect says no, he or she is giving you valuable feedback thatcan help you find a new approach. In fact, naysayers are actuallytelling you what to do differently--their rejection might encourageyou to learn more about the prospect's company or product, forinstance. Don't let a no undermine your confidence, your beliefin the value of your product or idea, or your ability to go out andsell. A no simply provides you with valuable information you canuse for future reference.

2. Don't get defensive. It's OK to get angry whenyou get rejected. What's not OK is to make excuses or try topersuade the other person that he or she is wrong and that you areright. Use your anger to get you going--let that no create a senseof urgency to find a better way.

According to John Eliot, Ph.D., author of Overachievement:The New Model for Exceptional Performance, and professor ofbusiness and psychology at Rice University in Houston, "Thehormone testosterone, which promotes positive feelings ofconfidence, is released at three specific times: 30 minutes afterwe fall asleep, after exhaustive exercise, and when we are tacklinga tough problem." Take action to prove that the other personis wrong. Instead of getting depressed when you get rejected, takeup the challenge, and vow to find a way to solve the problem anddemonstrate that you were in the right all along.

3. Let history be your guide. If people are laughing atyou or your idea, ask yourself why that might be. Is your idea justahead of its time? Or is it because you haven't expressed yourconcept well enough or demonstrated to prospects how they'regoing to benefit in the long term? Understand that it takes timefor every new idea to gain acceptance. When Alexander Graham Bellsaid he had found a way for people living thousands of miles apartto communicate, other people scoffed and said it couldn't bedone. The rest, as they say, is history. Examples like this oneteach you that other people who have been laughed at and told noagain and again have managed not only to achieve their goals, butalso to surpass them.

In the past, hearing no from a prospect would have sent me intoa tailspin. Now, I try to embrace rejection. I take the informationthat comes with that no and see what I can learn from it. Doing solets me come out stronger every time.

Barry Farber

Barry Farber is the author of 11 books on sales, management and peak performance. His latest release, "Diamond in the Rough" CD program, is based on his book, radio and television show. Visit him at www.BarryFarber.com, or email him at barry@barryfarber.com.

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