One of the very first words learned by every toddler raised to speak English is the word NO and it’s also the most dreaded word in Sales.  Great salespeople learn how to tune it out

The one thing most people in business agree on. We don’t like hearing “no” from clients or potential clients.

We would just rather not hear it.

But, when we hear it, we should not let that powerful two-letter word stop us. And, it shouldn’t stop you, either. When you’re confronted with the word in almost any aspect of your life, adopt a strategy.

Deafness to the word “no”

Just don’t hear the word ‘no.’ ‘No’ needs to be a reason to find a way to hear ‘yes.’” That’s it, plain and simple. Don’t hear “no.”

This doesn’t mean, if one of your potential clients says “no” to you, you nag until he says “yes.”

When a potential client says “no,” you don’t give up. Find out more about them. Learn more about their business, so you can approach them once again with a new, richer, stronger proposal.

Everyone runs into his fair share of potential clients who tell him “no.” It’s all too easy when you hear this to think you are being rejected. To think that there’s something wrong with your product or proposal or that you are just not good enough.

But you must remember potential clients have tons of reasons for telling you “no.” Many have nothing to do with the quality of your offer.

Maybe the potential client had too much on at that moment. Maybe it was a tremendously slow point in their business cycle, or a tremendously busy one – where they couldn’t take the time to look at your offer.

Keep the gate open…

So, don’t assume when a potential client tells you “no,” they’re shutting the gate. Here’s how to turn the initial response around:

First, after your initial contact, get in touch again. Write a follow-up email in a couple of weeks. Remind them of your offer on such-and-such a date. Also remind them briefly who you are and what the previous contact was about.

Tell them something like, “I know you’re very busy, but I thought I’d follow up on my first contact letter and see if you’ve had the opportunity to review your position”

Give them a little something that tells them you care about their business. Tell them about an article you recently read you thought might interest them. Or tell them about a story on NBR (or wherever) you felt might be of interest – and give them the link to the story.

By taking this approach, you’re telling the potential client you’re quietly and politely persistent. Persistence, when done right, is a winning attribute.

Repeat this in about four weeks. If, after that, you still don’t get traction from them, put them on the back burner. Wait three to four months and start the cycle again.

“Definite” might not really be so definite

There’s another “no” that can seem insurmountable. Let’s say you hear back from a potential client who says something like, “Sorry, we’re not in the market for ??” This sounds pretty definite. What do you do?

Write them a thank you email! Tell them you appreciate the time they took to review your offer.

Then add you’ll be contacting them again in the future when they might be in the market. Follow up in six to eight weeks. When you do, use the same tactic of giving them something to show you’re thinking of the welfare of their business. Persist with them … politely and subtly.

One note of caution: The operative word in all this is “politely.” Make sure all your contacts with potential clients are polite. Don’t whine. Don’t beg. And don’t demand anything (like a response). You want to project a professional image of someone who’s easy to work with.

Does persistence work?


So lets get our attitude right. People say NO for all kinds of automatic, unthinking, knee-jerk reasons. Don’t let it stop you.

  1. Determine that you are going to exert control over the situation and the other people involved.

  2. Determine that you can and will get positive results even in negative situations.

  3. Get your ego out of the way

  4. Don’t confuse refusal with rejection

  5. Be more interested in achieving positive results than anything else.

  6. Understand that most NO”S are erroneous

  7. Ignore the erroneous NO and keep making your case. Keep probing for the real reason for reluctance or refusal

  8. Respond only to real reasons.

Understanding, remembering, and using these 8 steps will help you convert many refusals to ultimate acceptance.

So, when you hear “no,” turn that “no” around and make it your push to success.