Eventually the no becomes a yes.

This is a true story. A story of persistence and fortitude.

Of someone saying no.

And of someone not accepting the no.

I was the person saying no. Not once, not twice, not for a few weeks or months but for a straight 3 years. 1000 days of saying no.

The person on the other side is a young person in one of our suppliers.

Her role is business development. Find new customers and pitch to them and secure business. something most of us have to do for our companies and brands.

First time she connected with me was on an online B2B platform. We got connected and she introduced her company. I ignored the email.

A few weeks later she sent the updated catalogue with some new products. I said thank you and did not bother to do anything with it.

Next month she sent some new product launch news that her company had developed. My response was the same. No response.

Every month this continued. Proposal. No response. 

A year later I got an enquiry from one of our teams for a new product category which we don’t deal in. However I recalled seeing that product in this supplier’s catalogue.  I reached out to her. She prepared a proposal immediately. 

We then dropped the project after a few months of exploration. 

A few weeks later she invited me to her booth at a trade show. Ofcourse I didn’t bother to reply as it was not a priority.

The second year passed with her sending proposals and me saying a polite thank you but not much happening.

In the third year her email frequency dropped a bit – every alternate month. However new news kept coming and new proposals from her.

In the fourth year one day, a storm broke out over our industry. COVID had struck and we needed to urgently supply COVID related supplies to consumers around the world. The problem – we neither had the capacity nor the expertise.

We got one of our big customers asking us “can you supply 30 million units of a certain product to us”. Our global capacity was not even 3 million at the time.

My instinct guided me to email her again. She replied in 15 minutes. We started talking.

“Can you make 20 million units  ?“

“how much time do I have ?”

“2 months”

“let me get back to you”

The same evening she got a proposal together. Some money in advance and they were willing to do it. My commercial teams rejected her proposal.

2 more rounds of no. 2 more rounds of her making alternate proposals.

The first deal struck.

In 30 days the first shipments start to leave.

Month 1 contract awarded 2 million dollars

Month 2 contract awarded 5 million dollars

Month 3 contract awarded many more million dollars

Month 4 contract awarded many many more million dollars

Month 5 contract awarded a lot more million dollars

We are in month 6.

Her persistence changed a 1000 days of no to yes.

Her persistence changed a non responsive lead into a valued client.

I am confident we will do much more business together.

She doesn’t accept no. ever.

She politely smiles and asks a new question every time.

Eventually the no becomes a yes.

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