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Maureen Stephenson: don't take no for an answer

Know the Score

Posted: March 13, 2009 8:49 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
No matter what you sell, you will inevitably face rejections and refusals, but learning to see "no" as valuable feedback can take your sales to a new level. Regardless of how often we hear "no," it's a tough thing to take.

Over the years I've had as many rejections as anyone else, especially as an author who doesn't have a "celebrity" name. Here are some ways I've learned to cope with this situation:

n It's only their opinion: When someone tells us that what we're attempting can't be done, we tend to think they're right. What I've learned is to look at that "no" as just that person's opinion. It isn't good or bad; it's just data coming in to me.

I can analyze it and make my next move smarter. What I've received is valuable feedback that can help me to find a new and different approach.

Don't let a "no" undermine your confidence, your belief in the value of your product, idea, book, or your ability. Go out and resell it again!

n Don't get defensive: It's OK to get angry when rejected. What's not OK is to make excuses or try to persuade the other party that they are wrong. Use your anger to get yourself going again; let that "no" create a sense of urgency to find a better way.

Take action to prove that the other person is wrong. Instead of getting depressed when rejected, take up the challenge and vow to solve the problem and demonstrate that you were in the right all along.

n Let history be your guide: If people are laughing at your ideas, ask yourself why that might be.
Is your idea just ahead of its time? Or is it because you haven't expressed your concept well enough, or demonstrated to prospects how they're going to benefit in the long term?

Understand that it takes time for every new idea or product to gain acceptance. When Alexander Graham Bell said he had found a way for people living thousands of miles apart to communicate, other people scoffed and said it couldn't be done.

The rest, as they say, is history. Examples like this one teach you that other people who have been laughed at and told "no" have managed not only to achieve their goals, but also to surpass them.

In the past, hearing "no" from a prospective client or publisher would have sent me into a tailspin. Now I try to embrace the rejection and take that information to see what I can learn from it.

Doing so lets me come out stronger every time. It will do the same for you.

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of Santa Clarita-based REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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