No, is the start of a conversation

June 21, 2017

Do you work in sales? When was the last time your client said No to your proposal? If you don’t hear a No almost daily you have either a unique product, or you aren't doing your job as a sales person and have a conversation. If you have a bad product you can only improve it by…? You guess it, having a conversation with the client what it is she/he rather wants.

In the day and age of email and WhatsApp most (unsuccessful) sales people send out a proposal and wait for the client to get back. Thereby they reach a multiple of clients with the hope to get a deal.

Let me tell you: This is a strategy similar to shoot in the forest with the hope of hitting a deer.

One proper phone call or face to face conversation will give you more learning than a mass email.

Be inventive

When I started in sales, phone or face to face was the only available communication. My team and I worked for a foreign bank in a big pond of local banks whose relationships with clients where almost certainly guaranteeing business because they were the “house-bank” or because of their interwoven relationships at board level. When we didn’t pick up the phone in the morning you would most certainly be fired by the end of the year as you would have seen zero business. So we made it a game. Every phone call one point. Every cold call, extra points. Every phone call and a sale more points. You reach a certain level of points you get a bonus. Be inventive in your teams.

Win against the fear of failure

It worked. The real success however isn’t when you win the competition, or when you land a big deal. The real success is winning over your fear of failure, over your hesitation to pick up the phone, dial and not knowing what to expect.

Fear of failure is our biggest hurdle. Our brain is still hardwired from the tribe days, where failure means we are disliked by the tribe members, eventually being kicked out of the tribe. Being kicked out meant mostly, death.

Today, failure is only failure if you label it failure. I see failure as learning. Did you know that a Gold medallist ice skater lands on her butt almost 20.000 times before she tops the podium? Every time her butt hits the ice it’s a chance to do it better next time.

It always puzzles me that the same people who play games on their mobiles, who hardly give up to reach the next level, fail to do so in a job that provides them a living.

Every No is a start to ask questions. Remember, more and better questions will give you more and better answers. More answers will give you a chance to make better choices next time. Feed your curiosity.

Change and Tweak

Change and tweak your approach every time you get a No. If you want to become a top sales person, make a small note of your call. What worked, what didn’t. I guarantee you over a period of only 3 months you will see patterns in your calls which will give you answers where to improve.

There is another bonus. You will most definitely improve your communication skills which will also help you in your private life. The next time you say No, ask yourself: What made me say No. What question or action would have me say Yes or would have kept me in the conversation. A game you can play with yourself!

Never take a No for a failure. Never surrender.

If you like to find our more about yourself, how to work on your skills, more tactics, drop me a line and arrange for a conversation, or work with me.


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