Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Business and life are full of “nos.” And even though you may hear the word “no” a lot, that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress or that you won’t reach your goals. You can hear hundreds, if not thousands, of “nos” ——and that one single “yes” can change your entire life. The key is being able to weather the storm of “no” — to become the person who receives the “yes.”
Hubspot says, 60% of customers say “no” four times before saying “yes,” but most 48% of salespeople don’t even make a single follow-up attempt, while another 44% give up after one call. That means 8% of salespeople are making the majority of sales because of their follow-up protocol. This is where grit and tenacity become two of the most important differentiating tools in your arsenal for getting results.
Related: What Real Entrepreneurs Do When They Hear the Word ‘No’
Table of Contents
Grit and tenacity are just two pieces to the puzzle
Often you will hear people praise entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs for their grit and tenacity. Their ability to make it through challenging times, maintain their vision and create organizations that stay aligned with their missions is often summarized as discipline, but there’s something much more important going on.
There is a particular mindset that you have to wrap your head around in order to get to the “yes.” Instead of viewing “no” as rejection, you need to start viewing “no” as information that’s moving you one step closer to “yes.”
“Nos” are intel. How you utilize that intel will dictate how you get the “yes.”
It’s one thing to tell yourself that every “no” is one step closer to “yes.” It’s another to believe it. The way you learn to believe this is by taking in the information the “no” gave you and implementing it into your communication process.
For example, if you were selling a yacht, and the person you made an offer to said “no” because they didn’t think they would use it enough, you just received pertinent information. You now know that some people will be thinking about how often they will use their yacht. This gives you the power to address that question in each sales conversation first, instead of waiting for that question to pop up as an objection. You can now weave that answer into the conversation, addressing the value of the yacht — regardless of how often it’s used.
Related: After Hearing “No” Dozens of Times This Entrepreneur Became Orlando’s First $1 Billion Fintech Unicorn
How to use the data you get from a “no”
As you take in the information the “no” gave you, you now have the direct data you need to shift your approach. You can now enhance your communication, you can be of greater support, and you now have more leverage because you’re working with more intel. This is vital in getting to the “yes.”
One way to use the data you get is by framing the mind of the person you’re talking to in regard to the things they’re concerned about, helping them to make the best decision possible. Sometimes that decision is “no.” But all you need is one right “yes.”
Another way to use the data you get is by showing your prospect what their lived experience could be if they said “yes” instead of talking about the features of the offer. According to a study conducted by Sales Lab Insights, top-performing salespeople talk about the features of what they’re selling 50% less than average and below-average salespeople. This means instead of focusing on the features of what’s being sold, top-performing salespeople are communicating how the person will benefit from saying “yes” based on the information the prospect is giving them directly.
For example, instead of talking about how many decks are on the yacht, how fast it goes, how far it goes and what materials were used to build it, you’d talk more about how they could use the yacht to celebrate meaningful moments, making memories that last a lifetime. Features tell, visions sell.
Don’t get lost in the quantity of “no.” Focus on the quality of “no.”
It can be easy to forget that quality and quantity are different things. Sometimes we can look at the outcome and forget to look at the variables that created the outcome. If you had 15 people considering your offer, but none of them had the money to invest nor the resources to create those funds, then there is no chance they can tell you “yes.” Likewise, if you are speaking to people who do not have the problem you solve or are not interested in what you have to offer, then getting a “yes” is highly unlikely. These variables have nothing to do with you as a person or the offer. Instead, these variables let us know that we’re talking to the wrong people, and we need to shift who we’re speaking to in order to get a “yes.”
If we didn’t have the data to make those decisions with, we could end up with infinite “nos;” but by utilizing the data we collect from our other conversations, it’s easier to reach the right people, with the right offer, to get the “yes.”
Related: Why Entrepreneurs Should Welcome the Word ‘No’
It’s just like dating
If you’ve ever been on a dating app, it can be a little disheartening to swipe through thousands of people and struggle to get a match or have a meaningful connection. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, rejected, hurt and frustrated — or so my single friends tell me. But the truth is you don’t need a lot of matches; you only need one. So, you’re not going through the app trying to get as many “yeses” as possible. You are trying to get the one right “yes.” It’s the same in business.
One right “yes” can change the entire trajectory of your life. For example, perhaps you inherited a large art collection worth $20 million dollars, but most of your net worth is not liquid. If you are able to sell that collection to the right person, that can change everything by making the value of that art collection liquid in whatever asset format you desire, whether fiat, digital currencies or another asset type entirely.
Let the “nos” elevate your identity
It’s not about the number of times that you hear “no.” It’s about the person you become and the mindset that you develop in the process of getting to the “yes.” The person who is able to move forward and not allow their worth to be dictated by the “no” they receive is the one who will move toward greater success in the quickest manner. This keeps you open to opportunities, maintains your confidence and gives you the power to pivot as you need to. Detaching from perceived projection takes your ego out of the equation and sets you up for smart decision-making and positive relationships.
By developing and utilizing this skill, you not only create more wins for yourself with greater value, but you can pass down this way of thinking to future generations. That way, not only are you creating multi-generational wealth via the assets you accumulate in your portfolio, but you also are giving an inheritance of mind that will allow others to think in the same way and continue expanding your legacy.