5 Positive Responses To Hearing NO

– Posted in: entrepreneurship

respond to hearing noBarbara Corcoran is a great example of moving past NO. After selling her company for multimillions, you’d think she would just walk into her next role as an uber-confident Shark Tank judge. But Barbara was actually not the first choice for the Shark Tank panel. She was one of the finalists, had a signed contract, and thought she sealed the deal but then found out the offer was rescinded. When she heard that NO, Barbara asked for reconsideration. She asked to have a screen test against the judge they picked instead of her. She won that screen test and secured her spot. Barbara didn’t back down after hearing a NO, but stayed positive, got creative and offered to do a screen test. Here are 5 other positive responses to NO:

Barbara Corcoran and Caroline Ceniza-Levine at the 2012 World of Business Ideas Conference

Barbara Corcoran and Caroline Ceniza-Levine at the 2012 World of Business Ideas Conference

  • Get curious.

Instead of getting on the defensive, start asking questions – why is the answer NO? You may uncover something that will help you change their mind.


  • Think NOT NOW, instead of NO.

Check in a few days, weeks, or months later depending on what makes sense for your situation. Don’t assume that NO means forever.


  • Brainstorm on what they can say YES to.

Maybe your request is too big (or offer is too small). Maybe the timetable is too soon (or too late). Don’t just focus on changing their mind about your request. Get creative about what you’re asking for and see if you can refine that.


  • Learn something for later.

Don’t just get mad or sad. Take time to think about what you could do differently next time and proactively craft this into your ongoing strategy.


  • Resolve to help them anyway.

Maybe you really aren’t meant to work on this project or win this piece of business. Think about who you can refer to them. It shows your generosity of spirit to both the prospective client and the person you refer.


Think about a recent NO you’ve received. Reconnect with that prospect and at the very least maintain the relationship. Or go a step further and see if they’ll reconsider. Or propose something creative, like Barbara’s screen test idea. What are you going to do with the NO’s that you hear? Which of the above tips are you going to implement right away?


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