I have been in sales for my entire life. Everyone is in sales and if you think you are not, you are mistaken. We are always trying to convince someone to see things our way. Life is a negotiation and that is part of being in sales.
In sales, there is an old adage; every no is closer to a yes.
And now that we are full throttle into year-end, I am working hard with my team to increase our revenue. In the process, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of non-profit executives about Funds2Orgs, and in some of those conversations, I have learned about the challenges people are having in raising money.
“Donors don’t want to give to operations”.
“We need to be careful to not ask our donors more than once or twice because they won’t continue to give”.
“I called and asked for money, and I was told they weren’t ready”.
The no’s are countless. And sometimes when I am in an honest and good conversation with an executive about the no’s they have heard, I hear a hint of dejection in their voice. I hear weariness and I know that more than likely, they are not going to ask again and they are going to do everything in their power to make an excuse to put that no out of their mind. There is going to always be another priority rather than going back to the well.
So, when they speak to me, they are often ready to hear about a way that people are going to have fun, raise money – without having to write a check or put down a credit card – and do something greater both for the environment and micro-enterprise around the world. They are certainly intrigued when I talk to them and more often than not, they want to hear more, which is great for my company and me.
But, something that I would like to be able to remind these non-profit executives is that no should be a motivation in itself. Life and work do not come easy. We don’t live in a world of rainbows and butterflies, and that’s ok. We live in a world where most of us have to work for a living and, oftentimes, there are roadblocks, challenges and a lot of no’s along the way.
I am very grateful for my career in sales because I have learned how to deal with the rejection. All it makes me do is to try to figure out a way to get a yes.
I believe passionately in my work, as I am sure most non-profit executives do. That is a great start. People can feel passion – even on the voice of a person on the other end of a telephone line. Passion is infectious and it is one of the motivators to get people to take action.
But, despite our passion, we are still going to have times when we hear the inevitable no, which may not have anything to do with what we are saying or selling. Someone may have had a rough morning, or is distracted with an illness. We never know what happened to someone just five minutes before they got on the phone or entered the meeting room with us.
So, don’t take the no’s personally. People genuinely do not want to go out and hurt people’s feelings.
Just take those no’s and figure out a way to get better at what you are communicating and look at each no as an opportunity to develop a relationship over the long term that will get you to a yes. Look at it as an opportunity to help them realize that what you have to offer is actually going to make their work or life easier and better.