“NO!”  This word stands between you and everything you want.  No wonder it is such a tough word to hear.   But if you are going to survive in this industry you are going to have to learn to hear “no” for an answer!

I’m not being pessimistic.  The truth is that if you can hear “no” and not go home and put your head under your pillow, you will make it to the next “Yes!”  Everything is sales, my friend.  To get good at sales you need to get comfortable with “no.”

You may say that you don’t want to be a salesperson, that you hate sales and salespeople and you wish you could just do the work!  Maybe it’s not the sales part but the “no” part that makes you hate your salesperson duties.  It’s fun to make a good sale.  To help someone fix their problem.  To make it all better!

It’s no fun to hear, “Whaddareya crazy?  I’ll have my brother-in-law’s cousin come over and fix it for free, for cryin’ out loud!”  But that is going to happen now and then. 

I suggest that technical competence, and its resulting confidence, can enhance your ability to sell.  Yes, sales training is wonderful and I recommend you learn all you can about sales.  But you have to be able to fix the problem!

So, train constantly.  To improve your technical and sales skills.  No one around to train you?  Educate yourself.  Go to the library.   Tag along with successful salespeople.   Take classes.  As your skills improve, your chance of hearing “Yes” improves.

One of my favorite sales trainers is Tom Hopkins, author of How to Master the Art of Selling.  Tom has a laid back, non-threatening approach that doesn’t feel pushy or overbearing.  And he has a nice way of looking at the word “no”.

Tom tells a great story about Ty Cobb. In his best season, Ty successfully stole a base 94 out of 144 attempts – 66% of the time he made it.  And he landed in the Hall of Fame.  He’s a legend.

Remember Max Carey?  He was a contemporary of Ty Cobb.  In his best season he successfully landed 51 of 54 base-stealing attempts.  He was over 90% successful!  And he is forgotten.

Perhaps if he had tried more times!  Maybe his ego was in the way, and he just couldn’t let himself try if there was a possibility of failure.  You know the guy had the skill – 51 times he got a big “Yes”!  He may have been ten times more skilled than Ty Cobb.  If only he had risked getting a few more “no’s”.

There is no magic formula for getting to “Yes.” I can only encourage you to try more often.  Take the courses and practice your skills…on your customers.  The natural thing to do when you hear “no” is to want to quit for the day.  Try again tomorrow.  Call it a day.

Nonsense.  Try again now.  Dust yourself off.  Review the experience and learn from it.  Find some humor in it.  And understand that you will always get “no” for an answer.   At least some of the time.

“I’m not judged by the number of times I fail but by the number of times I succeed.  The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep trying.”   Tom Hopkins

Try again now.