Don’t Take “No” Personally

This is the sixth in a series of 10 tips about networking based on a phone call I received.

You can read the five prior tips and a little bit about the conversation that prompted this series on prior blog posts:

Tip #1 Participate Fully In the Event

Tip #2 Set Realistic Networking Expectations

Tip #3: To Feel Comfortable – Serve Others

Tip #4: Dress and Act the Part

Tip #5: Have Fun!

This tip is all about preparing yourself for the inevitable “no.”

Just because you attend a networking event or belong to an organization with someone does not guarantee that they’ll do business with you.  This doesn’t make the other person a bad person, it doesn’t mean that the organization is ineffective, and it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you.  Instead, people have their own reasons for not doing business with you including:

1.  They have a pre-established relationship with someone in your field that they cannot break.

For example, let’s assume that you are financial planner, they might have a cousin, brother, aunt, uncle, business associate, or long-time friend that is a financial planner also that they’ve been doing business with for years.  So if they tell you that they are already doing business elsewhere and they are happy, believe them.  Congratulate them on the great relationship and let them know that you are available if anything should not be to their liking with that other person in the future and then just be their friend and expect nothing in return.  Chances are you won’t break that bond but over a long period of time, if you remain friendly, you might be given a referral or a chance to win their business simply because you were friendly, not pushy, and because you never bad-mouthed who they were currently using.

2.  They don’t believe that they need your product or services.

In this example suppose you met someone and you “know” that they need your help.   You can “see” how they could benefit from your products or services.  You’ve talked with them and they’ve not said much of anything.  Usually, in this case, they don’t see where they need you and it’s very possible that they don’t or they are in denial.

You won’t break the denial by pushing.  If you push too hard you’ll get even more resistance.  In this case you have to take a softer approach, make a friend first, earn trust first, and keep the communication channels open so they can come to you.  This is happens a lot to professionals in the self-help/health industry or individuals that sell things that people don’t want to think about (think death and taxes).

3.  They don’t like you.

Not everyone likes you or will like you and it has nothing to do with you and no matter what you do they will not do business with you ever.  The best thing you can do is remain cordial and move on.  This has been an area of business that is particularly difficult for me, because I tend to be a “people-pleaser.”  I was recommended a book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) , by a friend years ago that helped me deal with this and realize that someone else’s feelings towards me are their own and there is not often much I can do to change that.  If you have trouble with this, like me, then I recommend this book to you too.  It’s a quick read and helps you to realize that someone else’s negative feelings may have nothing to do with you at all, and everything to do with their own internal struggles that have absolutely nothing to do with you.  In time, they will either learn to like you or they won’t but you won’t suffer wondering if there is something that you could change to win over that relationship.  You just won’t please everyone all of the time, accept it.

I hope that you see that these 3 examples represent situations that are outside of your control.  You will encounter them at any networking event, in sales situations, family events, and the like.  Just accept it and realize that every “no” will bring you closer to a “yes.”  You can’t even do business with everyone in the world anway.  And in networking a “yes” means more sales, more friendships, more opportunities, more fun, more positive life-changing events!

Stay tuned for Tip #7 Say Nice Things About Others

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