Embracing “No”

All right, let’s talk about No. 

The first thing a salesman needs to keep in mind is how important “No” is to job security.  If clients and prospects didn’t say No, we wouldn’t have a job.  Think of it this way:  When a person walks up to a fast food counter to order a burger, do they get a features and benefits sales pitch promoting the value of the burger being offered?  Do customers raise objections to the food being offered?  Nope.  They just order what they want, right?  They have already decided they need a burger at that time and they go get it.  And now consider what the people behind counter at a fast food business get paid…

The existence of No and all of the objections that come with it is what keeps the salesman on the street…working. 

You will meet a lot of irrational Nos out there, but that’s no big deal.  Life is full of no.  Spend a little time with me, your tour guide, and you’ll see how true this really is; however if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you likely hear No more often than not.  (That fabulous girl or guy you were so sure of…remember?) 

On a sales call No is just part of the job, it isn’t anything to take personally.  It is simply verification that your work is needed.  For every four or five poor saps who don’t see the wisdom of supporting his business, there is one that does.  You just keep taking the Nos until you find the Yes.


One thought on “Embracing “No”

  1. Yu No Hu

    this is totally brilliant. i need some dot-connecting to help me make it from the metaphor of buying a burger to how “no” affirms the need for sales jobs. You’re really onto something big here. I don’t quite understand this particular posting in full, but I’m positive you’re got something cogent in mind. Something that needs to be shared. This is great stuff. Even though i don’t exactly get this posting, I’m positive it’s one of the most brilliant ones you’ve done, and I can see that this is a book. This is a book i’ve been looking for, but isn’t out there. This is a book of principles for the lowly salesman. The market is people who do sales, but don’t feel good about their jobs because they don’t know how to believe in what they’re selling. A lot of low-paid jobs are sales jobs these days–and they’re only tangentially tied to the kind of sales jobs that most businesses once had that could make a man millions. Sales jobs like the one Ray Kroc had selling those little cone-shaped paper cups to drug stores. He figured out different ways those cups could be used, and one was the brown or black coffee cup holder that used to be omnipresent in work places. You put in a new disposable cup with every cup of coffee. He also invented the to-go cup, and a whole different model of cultural practice–actually taking a cuppa something with you out the door of those old drug stores that had lunch counters. He changed the way we live, and not just by creating McDonalds. If it weren’t for him we wouldn’t have the signature latte-drinking Nancy on WEEDS sucking the last crops of an iced latte from her perennial go-cup.

    And overcoming customer objections is a challenge, and an art, and embracing the eternal “NO” is brilliant because it’s spritual, it’s like a zen-master speaking, and it’s also about knowing when to give up for now, and, well, like you say, embracing the NO and getting to the YES, and often with a different customer. This is brilliant stuff.

    Well, the dogs finally broke in, so i gotta give it up for now.


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