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Why You Should Be Grateful When People Say ‘No’ To You

Amplify Atlantic 2018. (Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle Today)

“Your reaction to rejection should be gratitude and curiosity,” says Steli Efti, Founder of Close.io and Silicon Valley’s most prominent sales leaders.

“Be grateful, because people really have risk telling you ‘no.’ There’s risk involved in telling you ‘no.’ There’s risk of you getting angry, there’s risk of you being annoyed, risk of you start crying. There’s risk involved and very little reward. So be grateful that they were honest, then be curious to learn what the hell is going on … what is missing?”

This was one of the many golden nuggets of sales and marketing advice doled out on stage at Amplify Atlantic on Tuesday at Pier 21 in Halifax. The event aimed to give businesses in the region a chance to learn from the top growth marketing experts in the world.

The event brought in business from all over Atlantic Canada and also featured Alistair Croll, founder of Solve for Interesting; Catherine Graham, CEO of commonsku and the president of RIGHTSLEEVE; Michael Gill CEO and co-founder of Peersight; Eva Lau, managing director and co-founder of Two Small Fish Ventures, among others.

Topics covered at the event included sales, community building, branding, marketing, growth and more.

We asked some entrepreneurs and business people about key pieces of advice they took away from the day-long event. Here is what they said:

Brandon Bourgeois, founder of Team Stripes (Moncton)

“I think the community aspect [from Catherine Graham] was really good. I was taking down notes on how to engage your community and help teach your community and get them engaged with your brand.

“But even on the sales side [with Steli Efti], that was really helpful for me because we’re reaching out to a lot of groups and associations, so in terms of articulating our value, that’s important. When you’re first launching something, you might not be able to articulate the best what the specific value would be. You speak more in generalities. I think learning how to approach things and to speak about what we’re doing and to really pitch the value, that’s been helpful.”

Jared Goodman, Purely HR (Moncton)

“For us, a lot of the speakers’ presentations were really validating for us. It’s nice to hear from industry experts and have them reinforce that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

“What really drove it home for us was chatting with Catherine Graham afterwards and picking her brain on our marketing strategy specifically and hearing her two cents on what we should do. That was pretty epic, and meeting Steli Efti, who is a client of ours. He was insane. In a good way, obviously.

Patrick Hankinson, Partner at Concrete Ventures (Halifax)

“I really enjoyed Steli Efti’s talk. I think he put a lot of emphasis on the different pieces of the sales process that I see companies time and time again fall victim to. For example, they’ll do a demo, then they won’t follow up. Or they’ll do a demo, and they won’t say ‘are you interested in this product?’ They don’t go for the actual sale. Or you also get companies that get sucked into this ‘oh, we just had this call. It sounded positive’ but they don’t know what the next thing is. Then six months down the road, they’re banging their head against the wall because they didn’t realize it had to go through procurement or any of these other problems.”

Sean McCullum, Ginger Agency, (Fredericton)

“Just learning about different channels that clients or even our own company would have to pull in inbound traffic and being able to test everything and see what works and then doubling down on those channels, strategies, and optimizations that really move the proper meter. Really defining what is your individual figure that you’re trying to move forward. What’s your primary KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that are actually going to achieve your business goals?

“Us marketers nowadays, everyone’s into data. You can spend hours on Google Analytics and learn nothing if you don’t know what specifically to look at. For me, [the takeaway is]pulling away some insights from some of these industry professionals and figuring out exactly how to make that happen. ”

John Jewett, Marketing Manager, DPL (Moncton)

“I like the ‘wait 20 minutes before putting out fires.’ advice from Laura Simpson of Side Door. I’m not really good at ‘in the moment’ responding. When I react, it’s more emotional. So even when somebody comes to me or asks me something, immediately I try not to respond right away because I know I’m not great at that, so I’ll take a beat before I respond.

“I never really gave a thought to what it enables or that fact that it forces other people to make a decision or overcome the problem without waiting on a decision from me. I like the impact that can have for the team and their ability to cope and resolve things on their own. That’s really cool.

Book Sadprasid, Marketing and Communications Manager, Ignite Fredericton

“Just the importance of really figuring out what’s the number one [marketing] channel. Right now, I think most marketers are faced with having so many channels and figuring out what one would work best.”

Yves Boudreau, CEO of Alongside (Moncton)

“The ‘never stop following up advice’ from Steli Efti. If you’re in communications with potential clients, companies ourselves are guilty of this. We have the habit that if they don’t respond after a while that we assume they’re not interested. But as Steli mentioned, it could be that people have lives and get busy and things change. So just continuously following up until you get a firm “yes” or “no” I think is probably the biggest thing that I can see us do a better job with.”