You walk out of the office; shoulders
slumped and head hanging low. The meeting did not go the way you had
hoped. Shoving through the glass doors and exiting the
building you heave a sigh, the words of your prospect still ringing
in your ears, “No, we’re going to pass.” Motivation is dwindling
fast. For a moment, you think about blowing off your last
appointment of the day and heading back to the office and in favor
of catching up on paperwork.
But what if it didn’t have to be this
way? Imagine getting a “no” from a prospect and then pushing
through those same doors happy, excited and energized. Imagine
actually thinking to yourself, “Hooray, the client said no!” In
order to tap into the “power of no” there are five key strategies
you can apply today.
1) Change your mental model of “success”
and “failure.” Most people
operate with the following mental model:
SUCCESS (Yes) <-- <--
YOU --> -->
They see themselves in the middle, with
success on one end and failure on the other. They do everything they
can to move toward success and away from failure. But, what if that
model was wrong? What if that model was reconfigured?
FAILURE (No) --> -->
What if, rather than seeing failure as
something to be avoided, it became a “stepping stone” on the path to
success? Put another way: Yes is the destination, but “no” is how
you get there. To achieve significant success in today’s world, top
performers do not see success and failure – yes and no – as
opposites, rather opposite sides of the same coin that depend on
2) Intentionally increase your “failure
rate” – go for “no”! There is
a story about a young man who asked Tom Watson, the prominent
CEO of IBM, how he could be more successful. Watson responded,
“Double your failure rate.” Watson wasn’t trying to be funny.
is, to a large degree, a numbers game. As such, one of the fastest
ways to increase your success is to intentionally increase your
failure rate. In other words, increase the number of times you hear
prospects say “no” to you. Of course, increasing the number of
times you hear “no” will eventually increase the number of times you
3) Create “no-awareness” by counting your
“no’s”. Here’s a question for
you: How many total “no’s” did you personally obtain yesterday?
Last week? Last month? How many for the year? Do you know? Well,
Most people, if they actually counted the
number of times they hear “no” during a typical day or week, would
be shocked to see how low that number actually is. If you don’t
know your number, it’s time for you to start counting every “no” you
hear, because the very act of counting your “no’s” will increase
your “no-awareness” and that, in turn, will enhance your “no-focus.”
4) Celebrate your failures, not just your
successes. When was the last
time you rewarded yourself for failing? Probably never! That needs
to change. It’s natural to be excited about our
successes and to celebrate them, to reward ourselves for the
achievement. But, if the key to success is to increase your failure
rate, then it only makes sense to celebrate your setbacks, too!
When someone turns you down, celebrate it! Instead of mentally
punishing yourself for not succeeding, buy yourself an ice cream
cone and say, “That ‘no’ put me one step closer to success!” If you
did, maybe failure – and the word no – would no longer have negative
hold on your thoughts and emotions.
5) “No” doesn’t mean never, it means not
yet. Woody Allen said that 80
percent of success is simply showing up. While the power of showing
up should not be underestimated, the reality is that showing up – in
and of itself – is usually not enough. The key to success is to
show up, and then to keep showing up! In a word: persistence.
Is this to suggest that when someone
keeps telling you “no” you should stay at it forever? No. Though
Winston Churchill famously declared one should never, never, never
quit… knowing when to quit is an important skill. The problem is
most people think that time has come long before it actually has!
How do you know the perfect time to
quit? Unfortunately, there is not a definitive number of “no’s” at
which one should throw his/her hands up and go home – after all,
every situation and every prospect is different. So the answer
always begins with an analysis as to whether the person you’re
trying to sell to is a qualified buyer. If they are unqualified
(they neither want nor need what you have to offer), then you should
pack it up and move on. However, if they do need what you’ve got –
even if they don’t want it yet – then pursue them for as long as it
So the next time you walk out of a
prospect’s office having collected another “no,” remember these five
key points and say, “Hooray! I just got a no!” Because when you
increase your failure rate and go for “no,” the “yeses” will
eventually come… they always do!
Attitude - A True Story
Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say.
When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to
restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.
He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee
how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it!
You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you
have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can
choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time
something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to
learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to
me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point
out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away
all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to
situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to
be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how
you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant
industry to start my own business.
We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about
life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never
supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one
morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While
trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off
the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was
found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from
the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how
he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my
scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone
through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went
through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied.
"Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I
could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was
going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and
I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got
really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man. " I knew I
needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry.
"She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied.
The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I
took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'
Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on
me as if I am alive, not dead."
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his
amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice
to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
"Don't Let A Slow Start Get You Down"
If your new business is off to a slow start, don't be discouraged!
Nearly every business takes a while to build up steam, and many of the
slowest starting individuals wind up being the most successful over the
Many self-made millionaires will tell you they nearly went bankrupt
before they turned the corner, and a lot of now-giant corporations were
one deal away from going under in their early days. Virtually every
book you might read on entrepreneurs details multiple examples of
successful individuals barely scraping by and seemingly heading toward
failure when they were first starting out.
Then there are the people you won't read about very often, people whose
ventures also looked certain to fail. You won't read about them
because, unlike the success stories who kept going despite the
obstacles, these individuals gave up. They went back to working for
other people or living off the dole, and faded into permanent obscurity.
At least in the short run, this often seems like the easiest path. But,
really, how easy is it to start all over from scratch with a new
business you hope (but don't know) will do better, or find a well-paying
job in this economy? Not very.
As for the success stories, they kept going. They kept pushing forward,
refusing to quit, until finally their efforts paid off. Word of mouth
brought new business, the economy changed, they saw the opening they
were looking for or got the break they needed. And voila! Suddenly,
instead of struggling to pull themselves up a cliff with exhausted and
trembling fingers, they had crested the summit and were rolling downhill
with unstoppable momentum on their way to financial security, and
ultimately to wealth and luxury.
I know you have the courage, resourcefulness and desire to keep pushing
forward, and I have every confidence in you. It's hard at first, but
with each small, short-term goal you achieve, you build momentum for the
next milestone. Soon, you too will be rolling.