Seth Godin Helps Me Get Over Myself

I took a “no” yesterday from a client who should have said “yes.”

Spent a good part of my Saturday fuming about the considerable effort I’d put in, the difficulty of communicating with the decision-maker through a third party, and my firm belief that if he’d gone ahead with what I’d proposed, it would have been a profitable investment for him.

The income I lost when he turned me down may have also entered my thinking.

So Seth Godin’s post on “Two Ways to Deal With No” was both timely and beneficial. Shortened, fair-use versions of the options he presented are:

You could contact the organization that turned you down and explain that they had made a terrible mistake, the wrong choice and a grave error…


You could be more gracious than if you’d won the work. You could send a thank you note for the time invested, you could sing the praises of the vendor chosen in your stead and you could congratulate the buyer, “based on the criteria you set out, it’s clear that you made exactly the right choice for your organization right now.”

Seth expands significantly in his post, which you can read in its entirety here. I’ll add one other thought — advice I’ve given many times to newer salespeople, and which I’d forgotten in my own frustration yesterday:

Never blame the customer for not buying. Most of the time you’re wrong — in the course of the sales process, you have choices in how you present your proposal.

There’s always a way you could have done it differently. If the choices you made didn’t result in a sale, your mental energy is much better invested in thinking about what adjustments you’ll make in your presentation the next time you get a chance.

Seth’s second option will go a long way toward ensuring that the chance will come again.


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3 thoughts on “Seth Godin Helps Me Get Over Myself

  1. Phil,
    Good to see that you, too, are a loyal follower of Seth’s blog. He’s a very bright guy and always has an interesting perspective on things.

    I hope you are enjoying the holidays. All the best for a great New Year.