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The power of no

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This post is an excerpt from “Unlimited Sales Success: 12 Simple Steps for Selling More Than You Ever Thought Possible,” by Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy (AMACOM Books, 2014). For more on the book, visit AMACOM Books, and follow Brian Tracy on Facebook and Twitter.

Perhaps the biggest single obstacle to your contacting and talking to all the prospects you need to fill your sales pipeline is the fear of rejection — also known as call reluctance. This is the fear of hearing the word “no” when you call on people. It is the fear of disapproval, dissatisfaction, rudeness, or negativity from other people.

When we were children, our favorite word was “yes.” Can we have some candy? Yes. Can we go out to play? Yes. Can I have a toy? Yes. Can I stay up later? Yes. We loved the word “yes.”

Simultaneously, we learned to hate the word “no.” It always stood for denial or deprivation of some kind. Soon, we become conditioned to seek out those things that bring a “yes” and to avoid the “no.” This attraction and aversion to yes and no then influences our entire lives, including our relationships with other people, especially the opposite sex, and our careers, the work we choose and the way we do it.

People seek out careers where they will be treated in a way that’s consistent with their levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. Many people take back-office and low-level jobs that are safe and secure and entail no criticism or rejection of any kind. Abraham Maslow, the pioneering psychologist, once said, “The history of modern man is the story of people selling themselves short.”

But the fact is that it is impossible to succeed in selling unless you are willing to hear the word “no” over and over again. The more times you hear no, the more you will get to yes as well. The more times you get rejected, the more times you will succeed. The more you get rejected, the more money you will earn, and the more successful you will be.

Imagine that your current way of thinking is like an old switchboard with cables that have to be put into different plugs. Your job is to take your plug out of the fear of rejection and transfer it to the desire for success. Instead of thinking of a “no” as a negative thing, you instead reinterpret it as a positive thing.

A friend of mine was thinking of quitting his sales job. He told his sales manager that he just could not stand the rejection. He was keeping track of his calls and found that he was being rejected 19 times out of 20. He had to make 20 calls to make a single sale. He was discouraged and ready to try something else.

Then his manager asked him, “How much do you earn for each sale that you make?”

He replied, “About $500.”

The sales manager then asked, “If you divide 20 calls into $500, how much is that per call?

“It works out to $25 per call,” he said. The sales manager then asked, smiling, “In what other line of work can you earn $25 for every phone call you make, whether they buy or not? The fact is that each person you call on is paying you, and the person who finally buys is when you collect.”

My friend was transformed. He turned his thinking around completely. Instead of reluctantly making calls each day, he became a prospecting machine. As he made more and more calls, laughing every time someone rejected him, he became better and better at prospecting, and then better and better at the entire sales process. In one year, his ratio of calls to closes dropped from 20:1 to 15:1, then 10 and five to one, and at the end of twelve months, he was making one sale for every three calls he made. His income increased 700 percent. A few years later he retired as a millionaire to a ranch in New Mexico, where he lives to this day.

Your job is not to endure the word “no” like a galley slave endures lashes on the back. Your job is to eagerly look forward to hearing the word “no” every single day. See how many times you can trigger the word. The more you hear it, the more sales you will make. The more sales you make, the more confident you will become, and your self-confidence and self-esteem will improve as well.

When you develop the habit of confronting your fears, over and over again, your fears eventually diminish. They become smaller and smaller, and then, like cigarette smoke, they simply drift away. You start to become absolutely fearless, and your sales begin to go straight up.

“Unlimited Sales Success: 12 Simple Steps for Selling More Than You Ever Thought Possible,” by Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy
© 2014 Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy
All rights reserved.
Published by AMACOM Books —
Division of American Management Association
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019