No one likes being told “no,” especially salespeople. In fact, fear of rejection is the top reason why salespeople hate to prospect for new business. They hate the thought of being turned down because they believe it’s a personal attack on their character. If they understood the value of being told “no,” they’d actually look forward to hearing it. Here’s why.

Kirby Puckett was a professional baseball player who played his entire 12-year career for the Minnesota Twins. He was their all-time leader in hits, runs, doubles and total bases, while establishing a life-time batting average of .318. That sounds really good until you realize that in order to hit .318, Kirby struck out two of every three times at bat. That doesn’t sound good, does it? But in baseball, those numbers were league-leading.

Striking out or being told “no” is also good in sales. For example, imagine you receive $100 every time you get a sale and your closing rate is 25 percent, which means you sell one out of every four prospects you call on. Let’s say you call on your first prospect and he turns you down. How much do you get paid for being told “no”? That’s right, $25. You call on your second prospect and get turned down again. How much have you earned now? Another $25 for a total of $50. You call on your third prospect and again get turned down. You now have $75. You call on your fourth prospect and that prospect buys. You’ve earned all $100.

Since your closing percentage was 25 percent you had to be turned down three times before getting an order. If your closing rate had been 50 percent, you would have been paid $50 for every no. Getting a “no” is a positive thing because it takes you one step closer to an order and your reward. You have to get a “no” to get to that “yes.”

Show your salespeople how prospecting makes them money. Show them how getting told “no” is an essential part of the process of getting an order and not something to take personally.

When field sellers understand the value of being told “no,” two things happen. First, sales increase because they spend more time prospecting and, second, their closing percentage increases, paying them more for every “no.”

Getting told “no” is a good thing because it pays.

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