The Opportunities in “No”

Dear Phone Lady: How can I continue to pick up the phone when I keep hearing “No”?

To answer this question I need to go back to the beginning of my days on the phone. I started my first business in 1987.  My business partner and I picked up the phone and made calls everyday from about 8 am to 6 pm EST. Eventually we saw some success, but it was not easy. I carried all the no’s I heard as personal injuries.

Then, in about 1990, we had a business consultant come in to offer advice and make suggestions for our growth. At this point, I was our main salesperson and, much to my surprise, he looked at all my work and commented on how well I was doing.

“What?” I said. I really didn’t understand. He then explained that statistically I was selling 1 out of every 8 people I pitched – and a good sales average was 1 in 10. “You’re quite good at this, ” he said.

Even as I write this, I remember the sensation of weight lifting off my shoulders and the power of this “aha” moment. I had been judging myself based on a belief that everyone I spoke to should become a customer. It was incredibly liberating to know that “no” was simply part of the process. It allowed me to be happy (even exuberant) and graceful through every “no” I received because I knew that for every 7 “no’s” a “yes” would follow.

This taught me that call reluctance can exist when our expectation of the sales process is too high … leaving us feeling defeated easily and often. Once I embraced the fact that I would hear “no” more often than “yes”, my sales ratios got better and better.

And – perhaps the most powerful lesson of all – I began to talk to prospects without expectation. This resulted in detailed conversations filled with market knowledge, industry data, information on my competition and specific requests of when and who to call in the future to make the sale.

While “yes” is obviously wonderful, “no” is often the beginning of a great relationship. Embrace every opportunity for conversations with your prospects and you’ll see your sales improve and call reluctance vanish!


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What's The Phone Lady doing?

  • One-on-one coaching with 6 amazing entrepreneurs - info about sales coaching here
  • Designing a sales campaign - that includes phone conversations - for a waste management consulting firm
  • Creating client communication module for college students
  • Delivering remote learning on essential business communication skills for job search
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for vet equipment company
  • Remote learning experience for financial advisors
  • In-person learning experience with new business owners on creating a sales process
  • Remote learning experience on essential skills to reach and inspire conversations with C-suite executives
  • Team coaching for a firm representing natural products for arthritis in dogs
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for a transportation company
  • Remote learning experience on both discovery and sales calls for new startups

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