Overcoming the Word “No”

Everyone sells, one way or another. As parents, we sell our children on our belief systems and our values. In courtship, we sell ourselves to our prospective partners. At work, we sell ourselves every day to our employers and our co-workers.

However, there’s something keeping us from doing the best job of selling in every situation. It’s the fear of rejection. And, rejection most often comes in the shape of one of the smallest words in the English language–“no.” Isn’t it amazing how such a small word can have such a huge impact on us?

Why are we afraid of this one little word? Our fears began when we were toddlers. We constantly heard the word “no” from our parents, grandparents and others who cared for us. They said it to help direct our actions and learn how to control our emotions, yet we saw it as something negative because we didn’t fully understand the reasons behind it.

After hearing “no” enough times, many of us tend to desensitize ourselves to its impact. Others of us continue to take it personally. Those who still take the word “no” as a personal affront have a low threshold for the amount of rejection they can handle. And in selling, you have to have a pretty high threshold if you intend to survive these tough times and thrive as we begin to recover.

Let’s rethink how we react to the word “no” in selling situations. Hearing “no” is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it should be expected in every sales situation because you have to get through the “no’s” before you can get to a “yes.” Start thinking of the word “no” as feedback rather than a stopping block. With every “no” quickly think of how you can change direction and try again. The “yeses” are out there, you just may have to run through a maze of “no’s” to find them.

If you allow yourself to start feeling negative about all the “no’s” you’re hearing, remember my five attitudes toward failure.

  1. I never see failure as failure, but only as a learning experience.

  2. I never see failure as failure, but only as the negative feedback I need to change course in my direction.

  3. I never see failure as failure but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

  4. I never see failure as failure but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.

  5. I never see failure as failure, but only as the game I must play to win!

Stop taking “no” personally! Learn to love it instead. It’s just a detour sign, not a dead end!


This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).



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  1. Dear tom,
    Your 5 attitudes to overcome the negativity of word NO are fantastic.

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