“I don’t know how to play tennis, but I want to be a world champion. I’m going to win the Grand Slam. I will do whatever it takes. Hard work doesn’t scare me. But there’s only one thing that is going to end my career: the first match that I lose at any level at all, I’m quitting.”
We are so afraid of losing; so scared of hearing “no”. But it’s the most important word in your business.
Get used to hearing “NO”
This is the hardest lesson of all, but if you’re too afraid of hearing a rejection, you’re going to put yourself—and your client—under too much pressure.
How do you think a series of sales calls would go? We’d love it to be something like this:
Call 1: Yes
Call 2: Yes
Call 3: Yes
In fact, it’s more likely to go like this:
Now, it would be amazing if you just had a series of “Yes” calls, but if you’re too afraid of a “No”, you’re probably not even going to have those sales conversations in the first place.
And you learn so much from hearing the word “No.” You might hear what your prospects do like about your service. You might learn a lot about what they don’t like, and why.
And that “no” may not be a permanent rejection. It may be just “no … for now.”
Get used to saying “no” to others
This is a big one.
If you’re too general, and want to accept “any kind of customer anywhere”, you’re not going to attract the people you are best able to help.
“Anyone” isn’t a market. “Anyone” isn’t anyone.
And while we’re at it, maybe it’s time to be a little more focused.
When someone asks you to take on some work, or collaborate over some project, you are doing them a disservice and doing yourself a disservice, too, if you are saying “yes” when you can’t honour that commitment.
So what is that commitment?
If you’ve decided to write a book, together, then what, exactly, are you undertaking?
If you’re going to be affiliates, or even to catch up for a regular meeting, what are you saying “Yes” to? Will this meeting (and the work that comes with any meeting) be strategic for you?
When you say “Yes” to some new commitment, what are you saying “no” to?
Say “No” to yourself
This might seem obvious to you, as an entrepreneur. After all, you’re giving your heart and your soul to make this business work.
But sometimes you take on new commitments to your professional development that just make no sense.
For instance, supposing you decide to buy a business book. Are you committing to read it, or are you just going to add it to the pile, and feel guilty that you never seem to get through the list?
Or downloading a checklist or an eBook, and then committing to subscribing to the newsletter. Is that really going to be information that you will read, digest, and implement? Or is it going to add to your inbox clutter?
Practice “No” 3 times in the next 24 hours
“No” is the most powerful word you’ll ever use in your business. It’s good to hear. It’s good to say. You really should try it (even if you’re a nice person!)
So, here’s a challenge: in the next 24 hours, practicing saying “No” (nicely) to three things that you really shouldn’t say “Yes” to. Three things … or maybe to three people. Do it nicely, but do it.
You’re only saying “no” to these things in order to be more focused on the opportunities you need to say “yes” to.
You can thank me later.
By breaking down the process of starting and growing a business into simple steps, I give entrepreneurs the direction in which to go. Learn more from my website: AnthonyEnglish.com.au