“NO!” This word usually stands between you and something you want. No wonder it is such a tough word to hear. But if you are going to survive in the heating and cooling industry, you are going to have to learn to hear “no” for an answer!
You may say that you don’t want to be a salesperson, that you hate sales and salespeople, and you wish you could just do the work! Perhaps it’s not the sales part but the “no” part that makes you hate your salesperson duties? It’s fun to make a good sale. It’s fulfilling to help someone fix their problem.
It’s no fun to hear, “What are yah, crazy? I’ll have my brother-in-law’s cousin come over and fix it for free, for cryin’ out loud!” But that is going to happen now and then.
The good news is that technical competence, and its resulting confidence, is a terrific sales skill! Yes, sales training is wonderful and I recommend you learn all you can about sales. But, you have to be able to fix the problem! I’m all for red carpets and shoe covers… as long as they are in the hands – and on the feet – of a person who can get the job done.
Therefore, train relentlessly to improve your technical and sales skills. Don’t have anyone around to train you? Educate yourself. Google “sales training for techs” and subscribe to a blog or YouTube channel. Pick a trainer whose “voice” and philosophy about sales appeals to you. Tag along with experienced technicians. Go to seminars. As your skills improve, your chance of hearing “yes” improves.
One of my favorite sales trainers is Tom Hopkins, author of How to Master the Art of Selling. Tom has a laid back, non-threatening approach that doesn’t feel pushy or overbearing. Plus, he has a nice way of looking at the word “no”.
Tom tells a great story about Ty Cobb. If you are old enough, you will remember him as a champion base stealer. In his best baseball season, Ty successfully stole 94 out of 144 attempts, meaning he was successful 66% of the time. Ty landed in the Hall of Fame. He’s a legend!
Remember Max Carey? He was a contemporary of Ty Cobb. In his best season, he successfully landed 51 of 54 base stealing attempts. He was over 90% successful! And he is forgotten.
Perhaps Max should have tried more times! You know the guy had the skill – 51 times he got a big “YES!” In fact, he may have been ten times more skilled than Ty Cobb. If only he had risked getting a few more “no’s.”
Improved selling and technical skills will help you get to “yes” in the field. Couple that with more attempts. The natural thing to do when you hear “no” is to want to quit for the day. Resist the urge. Dust yourself off. Review the experience and learn from it. Find some humor in it. Understand that you will get “no’s” for an answer… at least some of the time.
“I’m not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep trying.”
– Tom Hopkins