Far too many people are afraid of hearing the word “no”.
And I get it. I used to be afraid of rejection too. For the first 2 years in my business I hardly achieved anything. I was afraid to ask and by avoiding the ask I rejected myself in advance. I was saying “No” to myself before anyone else had a chance to.
In this article I share how I got over that fear and build a multimillion dollar direct sales business.
The art of asking
There’s an art…or maybe a science to asking and getting what you want. I found the book “The Aladdin Factor” by Marc Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield very helpful. They recommend asking as if you’re expecting to get a “yes”. You also want to assume that you can get a “yes” in general – don’t just hope. You also need to ask more than once.
I recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book to improve the way you ask!
Persistence does pay off
Persistence has been key to my success. You want to keep asking because they might say “yes” when they’re in a better mood, when their circumstances have changed, when you have a better offer that suits their needs, or when you’ve learned to ask better!
Early on in my business I was too afraid of hearing “no” to follow-up and ask. To help encourage myself to take action, I gamified the process.
I started by rewarding myself with $1 for every follow-up call, regardless of the outcome. My goal was to get myself moving and to overcome my fear of rejection. When I’d made enough calls, I treated myself and my husband to a night out at the movies. As I got better at making the follow-up calls, I moved on from $1 coins and made myself a star chart. I gave myself a gold star every time I made a call!
The reward you choose doesn’t matter, the process of rewarding yourself for taking action gives you a boost of dopamine in the brain, which reinforces the action.
As you’re training your brain to love taking action you will notice it gets easier and easier to follow-up! And of course the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it and you’ll start hearing that ‘yes’ more and more!
Keep a Leads Book to Help your Follow-Up
The statistics that have most inspired me to keep going with follow-ups came from a marketing specialist at Notre Dame University. They found that 94% of all sales people quit after the 4th call. However 60% of all sales were made after the 4th call.
I didn’t want to keep missing out on 60% of potential business because I wasn’t following up enough!
So I started keeping all my follow-up information in a leads book (but you could also use a spreadsheet, I happen to be old school). I allocate 1 page per lead and I keep track of my follow-ups with dates and notes. I try to add personal information so contact from me feels personal and friendly.
I also make sure I vary the method of follow-up. Sometimes it’s a phone call, then a text message, other times I send something in the mail. This keeps me in their thoughts but it doesn’t feel repetitive.
I have some leads that I’d been following up with for five years before they finally joined my direct sales team – persistence paid off eventually!
Don’t be a bulldozer
At this point I want to make sure you understand that I’m not a bulldozer when it comes to follow-up.
I not only vary the means of follow-up so I don’t hound them with phone calls or spam them with texts, but I also always offer them an “opt out”. I literally say something like: “if you’d like to stop hearing from me, just let me know” or something similar.
I don’t want to be pushy or spammy so I’m keeping it light and friendly and respect their boundaries!
How to think of follow-ups
I was told by a mentor long ago to think of follow-up like offering everyone cake at your wedding.
Some people love wedding cake and eagerly say yes … others say no. Maybe they’re on a diet, maybe they’re allergic to gluten, or maybe they just don’t like cake!
The bride doesn’t take it personally, she just offers it to the next person. I like to think of everyone I follow up as wedding guests – I have something wonderful to offer them and it may or may not be for them.
My job is to find the ones who do want it and not get discouraged if someone doesn’t like cake.
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