Silence is the True Form of Rejection
In the “war room” at Billaway you will see more than 20 long sheets of paper all over the walls with names of people/companies/organizations we are hunting. As the CEO, I am the head of sales and I approach sales as if we are at war and I am hunting the enemy to get them to be my friend.
We treat detail very delicately at our company. Just like a specialized unit would track down bad guys, we do the same with sales prospects. We learn everything we can about them, their wants/desires/people, you name it. We create extensive research papers on who we are “hunting” so we feel confident and educated. We put aside the time to do this because we don’t need to sell to thousands of companies to be successful in what we do, nor do we target thousands of companies to begin with. We sell to mobile operators and similar entities, you see. We sell to them because the majority of them have tens of millions of consumers. Sell one mobile operator and gain access to sixty million consumers. Sell to ten and, well you get the idea.
At Billaway, our sales team is hyper focused on getting to know our target very early on and prior to engaging with them. We know the executives, who they report to, who holds the ‘juice’ in the company, what their goals are and so on. We make sure we never engage with a prospect until we already know the answers to the questions we will be asking.
About two months ago in one of our daily “sales touch-base” meetings, a member of my team said, “rejection is rarely a NO”. It struck me as an odd statement at first, but as I thought more about it, he’s right.
I sell all day- every day. And I am told “NO” …often! Recently, I started to interact with sales prospects where I wasn’t being told no. At the same time however, I also wasn’t being told yes. The true rejection in a sale is silence. Silence leaves you not knowing where you are with a prospect and this gets you absolutely nowhere. Imagine for a moment if you were dating someone personally and you were constantly wondering where you stood. You would ask what is happening, what is going on, how they feel and where “this” is going. Now apply the same concept to business. Could you ever imagine putting up without knowing for long? The answer you want to give is no, but in actual fact it’s probably yes. In B2B sales, we put up with it every day.
I have come to realize that I am spoiled. Up until recently, I had never in any aspect of my life had to deal with this type of thing, however now it is everywhere. What concerned me was that while it is cropping up, I asked the question to my team “How are we dealing with it?” and did not get a good answer.
True rejection is silence in any form. True rejection is not knowing and how to prevent that from happening is the challenge we face. Normally, I would just walk away from the “silence” and move on to the next target to hunt, however with a limited pool of available targets, we needed a solution. I started to test all possibilities; reaching out by phone to ask the direct questions, going over and around our target and other things I would normally not need to do. This approach was interesting in that it was a classic example of trying basically the same thing and expecting a different result. That’s the definition of insanity, right?! I knew something had to change and it had to be the way I and everyone in my team operated on a daily basis. Only then could we expect different results.
I was recently asked how I handle rejection and I answered with one word- “persistence”. It is by far the one trait that we all possess in the Billaway team and personally it has made me who I am. Not only is it what makes us win but I’ve come to realize it’s more than that. Being told “no” enables you to reconcile it and move on and do more. That is persistence. Being told nothing and left out in limbo when it comes to sales or in life requires something much more. Something I had never had to deal with and something I had to find. But guess what- I found it!
The sales team at Billaway operates a bit differently now. When we experience silence, we do what I do in real life now, replace it. If no one responds to us or feel we are being held in limbo, we replace the target with a new one we then can move on. If the other one pulls through, we are better for it. Sounds simple, however until we recognized the pattern of what was happening, we were unable to combat it. I have a feeling it is the reason our closed sales increased by around 600% over the past two months. Replace limbo with something meaningful that will result in something tangible. It’s how we operate at Billaway and I am starting to think, it’s how we should operate in all aspects of life.