The Power of An Honest No
From the Department of "Easier Said Than Done"
If I’m not getting rejected on a regular basis, I’m not taking enough risks.
But hearing the “no” still stings.
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Yet the moment after that sting of rejection presents a wonderful growth opportunity.
If I can get feedback on the “why” behind the “no” - ie “an honest no” - then I’ll have a great angle to improve my approach for the next time.
…this is really hard!
One thing I’ve noticed about the best founders is that they are really good at getting “an honest no.”
They take the “no” from a customer prospect or an investor and then they squeeze out every drop of potential learning by calmly and graciously soliciting feedback.
That’s not to say every single “no” should generate valuable feedback.
But the accumulation of feedback over the course of a series of “no’s” can create a Himalaya-sized mountain of value.
When I’m the purveyor of the “no,” I struggle with this - how forthcoming should I be with feedback?
Occasionally, a founder will artfully defuse my “feedback fear” and get me to open up with my most candid thoughts - I make it a point to follow up on these founders as there’s a good chance I’ve underestimated them.
Particularly from investors - listening to the “why” behind every “no” will reliably induce vertigo. But feedback from just about every single customer prospect is potentially golden.