Every No Gets Me Closer to A Yes...and Other Advice I've Been Given | PromoKitchen Chef Jessica Hutwelker
Eleven years in this industry and I’m still learning every day. The power of words and statements given at just the right moment create a ripple effect that is never foreseen or fully understood at the time. Below are some of my favorites, new and cherished, that I carry with me and share with others. Enjoy!
“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.”
This is the longest standing piece of advice and mantra that I have carried with me throughout my career. One of the top producers at distributor Match-Up Promotions imparted that wisdom to me one day and I’ve never forgotten it. I have made it a point over the years to continue to elevate myself, my presence, and welcome in the people who have come along to mentor, guide, and partner with me. In education sessions I’ve spoken of the concept that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with in your life, and I ask my participants “Who are your five?” Do these people support you, challenge you to be your full potential, stand for who you are and who you’re capable of becoming? Or do they tear you down, discourage your ideas, and/or diffuse your enthusiasm? If you want to make changes in your life, one of the first steps is looking at who has the most presence in your day to day interactions. Change your five and change your life.
“Never forget who you are.”
One of my good friends at distributor company Sunrise Identity shared this with me. We all are going to have those days that make us question our value, our worth, and our identity. Sometimes it’s hard to stand strong amidst opposition or negativity. I keep a folder of successes in my inbox and any time someone wrote me a note of thanks or paid a generous compliment or testimonial to my work, I would save it in the folder. These are keepsake, touch stone reminders of who we actually are, beyond this moment in time. Whether it be notes or a body of work/portfolio that you’ve built over the years, keep something to reflect on to help you bounce back to your rock star self.
“Every no gets me closer to a yes.”
Sales is not for the weak, or the thin skinned. One of my mentors last year pointed out that we’ve got to work on making me some rhino skin! In the meantime, this bit of wisdom from a friend in a cold calling sales role really spoke to me. He knew that it came down to statistical odds of getting a client and closing a deal. Every no he received he just got more excited as he knew he was getting that much closer to a yes. This is my second most repeated bit of wisdom that I’ve shared with others. While getting my training with Sandler Sales, I also learned that the “no” isn’t a) about me; b) forever. The prospect is declining the offer at this moment in time. Who knows what kind of day they’re having? Be sure to circle back and follow up. Don’t get discouraged by the no.
“Relationships should never be so much work that they take the joy out of them.”
I have referenced this sage piece of advice for several years now. Although I originally applied this to my personal relationships, it has just as much relevance in our professional ones. Paul Kiewet shared in one of his webinars that he applied an 80/20 rule one year with his clients and his profits soared. He focused his total attention on his top 20% of clients and fired the rest. If you’re hating working with a client—drop them! You know what it’s like to work with good people who respect you and are a joy to work with—invest your efforts in those people.
“Focus on the things you can control rather than the things you can’t.”
Ever get all kinds of accolades and recognition from all sorts of people…except for the one person that it mattered the most? Whether it is a boss or someone in your life, it’s a tough pill to swallow that the one person whose approval you seek isn’t handing it out.
We can’t control who is going to respond to what, who’s going to show up and who isn’t. What we can do though is be so thankful for the ones who do. The ones who make it a point to show you that you matter. It’s easy to focus on the negative (it’s human nature, actually), but redirect your focus and express the gratitude for the ones who do show up.
“It’s all about timing.”
This…has been one of the toughest things for me to accept. Projects I didn’t win, relationships that didn’t work, prospects that didn’t land. Have you ever had a moment where it just felt like everything is just.so.difficult.? It feels like you are constantly fighting an uphill battle and nothing is working out? That’s a pretty good indicator that it’s not meant to work out, or at least not at that moment. How about those times when things just flow and everything falls into place and happens so fast? That is when you’re in the flow of synchronicity and things are happening in alignment. It comes down to timing. I am a testament to that, especially the last couple of years. The next time things just seem utterly impossible with a situation…let it go. Let it go and focus on other things. The right things will present themselves at the right time.
“Being cool is a losing proposition. Enthusiasm and passion in life trump being cool.”
Jeffrey Tambor said that as the keynote speaker at PPAI Expo 2015 and it gave me hope and excitement. After all these years of dealing with never being the cool kid and not fitting in, it was awesome to hear that. People are drawn to enthusiasm and passion…I know I am! Fran Ford, Bill Korowitz, Brittany David, Teresa Moisant, Roni Wright, Danny Rosin, Mark Graham, heck everyone in PromoKitchen, and so many others in the industry…their presence and zest absolutely light up a room. They make you want to be a part of something bigger, something more than “just a ___”.
“Always remember to thank those who helped you along the way.”
While doing interview prep for a women’s empowerment panel at WLC 2015, Teresa Moisant shared the importance of always remembering those who helped you on your way up. Paying it forward goes without saying, and I can’t think of a more generous group than the folks in our industry who are constantly helping others in mentorship and volunteerism and giving. It’s also important to honor and thank those who got you to where you are. Appreciation and gratitude are a small price to pay for the impact that others make on our lives and careers.
“Be true to who you are.”
I think one of the most unforgettable people in our industry is Dan Fortunato with HIT. His emails have tons of exclamation points and smiley faces, and his energy and enthusiasm just emanate from him in his every interaction. It might not be “the business way” but I tell you what, he has done a phenomenal job of being someone that you think about and remember. There are going to be people who aren’t a fan of your style and your flair. That’s okay! As Amy Poehler would say “Good for you, not for me.” You may not be everyone’s cup of tea…but who wants to be English Breakfast? Or Chamomile? That’s regular, standard. Show your flair and be the kind of cup of tea that makes people notice and wonder why they had never tried doing business or hanging out with you before.
Embrace who you are. Focus on the windshield instead of the rear view mirror, consider the passengers in the car with you, remember the people who helped you get there, and go for a joy ride!