Driven By No

I’m often asked by friends, family, and co-workers about how I deal with the constant negative feedback or being ignored by people in my line of work. “Isn’t it hard hearing no all the time?” The short answer is yes. It’s not easy (or probably healthy) hearing no as much as myself and other business development associates do. The longer answer is that all the no’s are actually what drive me in this business.

Early in your business development career, you will more than likely hear no or be ignored 100% of your day. I’m not kidding. 100% of the time. You don’t know anything, you don’t know your product or service really, and you haven’t earned any prospects trust enough for them to give you business or even a second of their time. Harsh. Yes. Reality. Yes!

If this bothers you, you’ll probably either quit, move into marketing, or look at being an account/project manager. All of those are great ideas and I don’t look down on anyone who makes those decisions. BD is brutal, bad for your health, and definitely is not for everyone.

Me, and others that have stuck it out, are driven by “No”. Whether it’s 1) a prospect saying no, 2) a co-worker saying no, or 3) a boss saying that you’ll never get work from XYZ company. In #1, you can either make that prospect your Moby Dick and not stop until you get an opportunity or cut them loose and move onto someone that’s probably a better prospect and will get you more opportunities. In #2, I rarely let myself get held back by someone who doesn’t know how to sell or work through the sales process. I trust my instincts and know that I’m going after something worthwhile and they will come around once the opportunity comes together. In #3, this is my favorite! Most of my best clients are those that my boss (or their boss) has said that I couldn’t land. This version of no drives me more than anything.

Don’t let no be the end of your journey. Find a way to either turn no’s into yes’s or forget about the no’s and find more opportunities for yes’s!

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