I’ll never forget one of the worst ‘no’s’ we ever got.

It was very early on in our business. After gaining a foothold in our market, things were flowing nicely. Business had been coming in very fast and easy but now it had slowed to a crawl, and we were not prepared. We were too busy focused on delivery and not enough on selling. We had few dates on the calendar. After going back to our pipeline, we finally closed an account for a workshop. We were happy and relieved.

That very afternoon, a friend happened to stop in town and we met him for lunch, taking the time to celebrate our ‘yes’ at getting the much needed business.

When we returned to back to our office, the light on the answering machine was flashing. (As I said, this was a long time ago.)

You know that sixth sense that overtakes you when you just know in your gut, something is… not good?

Maybe we were just in a negative frame of mind in general but I remember we both had the feeling. We knew in that moment. That flashing light was not a good flash. It could have just easily been some more great news but, it just didn’t feel like it.

We hit the play button. Listened to the message: “So sorry… can’t go forward after all… new VP… don’t have the resources…” You get the idea.

The problem was not with that one ‘no.’ The problem was that we did not have a full pipeline. We were not prospecting and getting enough irons in the fire, hooks in the water… use the analogy of your choice.

It was a wake-up call. It was time to take control of our business and to stop wait for the easy yeses to fall into our lap. Sylvester Stallone said, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”

When is the ideal time to be rejected? If you are creating plenty of opportunities and filling your pipeline, the answer is: anytime. When you are avoiding prospecting and building the pipeline, the answer is: never.

How you ensure rejection doesn’t hurt is to be busy, be in-demand and that means to stay active. Don’t get complacent.

(There are other ways to ensure rejection doesn’t hurt too, which are based on your mindset. Be sure to read Go for No! if you have not yet.)  

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW 

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