Over the past two months I have racked up nearly 25,000 miles bouncing from coast to coast pitching my butt off on ideas big and small. I would love to tell you that every time I walk in to a room people hand me a contract, but the reality is that rarely happens. People “need more time”, “need to circulate with colleagues” or “think it is interesting…” but at the end of the day what they really mean is NO…. or at least no right now.
No is probably the hardest word to hear as an entrepreneur, whether you are pitching your business to an investor or a project to a client. But no is part of the game. Nobody bats 100%, especially if you are pioneering a new space. Not only should you expect no, you should embrace no. No is your friend, because each no gets you one step closer to yes.
Your Failure Profile
Each time someone tells you no write it down. Better yet use a spreadsheet or database to track your nos more efficiently over time. I am a big fan of Salesforce.com, you can easily use their platform to track your failures. Record not only that you were shot down but why you were shot down. Was it price? What is time? Did a competitor have a better offering? Did the person you pitched “get it”?
Over time you will be able to develop what I call a Failure Profile. Your profile can tell you why you are failing and what type of success ratio you have when pitching your wares. This is important for two reasons:
1. You can address the reasons you are failing and modify your pitch to close more effectively in the future.
2. You get an understanding of your personal close ratio. That will help you determine how many nos you can expect to hear before you might get a yes.
Once you understand that each no gets you closer to a yes they are much easier to stomach. In fact, you become eager to cycle through nos faster in order to get to the yes. I heard a lot of nos over the past couple of months, but I finally got the one big yes I was after.