Tag Archives: Sales

When “No” means opportunity

by Anna Brindley

Hearing no or seeing no in an e-mail can feel like a kick in the gut. Not only can it cause physical pain, it makes you want to crawl in a hole and stay there. Doesn’t this person see how special I am? Don’t they know how hard I’ve worked?  Don’t they have a clue that I’m doing all this on a shoestring with some extreme limitations? Can’t they appreciate how creative I am?

It takes everything I have to pull myself up by my boot straps and ask for an opportunity.  And nothing makes me want to quit quite like hearing no. It is humbling to ask for feedback, but I’ve found that learning why something didn’t work can be a key step in moving forward.

Recently when I approached a big retailer and got a no, I gulped and called the buyer back. “Can I have a few minutes of your time?”  I found out was that their buying requirements limit them to vendors that offer complete collections. In other words, I needed to show them more products that would merchandise well together on the floor. Asking the question gave me some great information about this retailer.  It also leaves the door open to try again in the future. “If it’s okay with you,” I told her, “next season I may be coming back with a full line.” The buyer said, “Sure, pitch again.”  Just like that, the “no” turned into a “maybe.”  Not a bad use of 10 minutes on the phone.

Bouncing back from a “no” can be difficult, but learning to pick myself up quickly has helped me develop the mettle I need to persevere.  If you happen to be licking wounds of your own as you read this, I’ll leave you with this: quit b*tching and start pitching.  Start by calling anyone who has told you “No” lately.  You may not close the deal, but at the very least you could open the door to a relationship.