We’ve all heard the phrase “Never take no for an answer,” but it’s easier said than done. Here, nine business moguls and Advisors in The Oracles tell us how their persistence paid off.
1. I made it on ‘Shark Tank.’
When I was asked to be on “Shark Tank,” I grabbed the opportunity as quickly as I could and told everyone I was “going to Hollywood!”
At the last minute, the producers changed their minds and invited another woman for the lone female seat. On the verge of a self-pity party, I wrote an email instead. I told them, “I consider your rejection a lucky charm because all the best things in my life happened on the heels of failure.” I suggested they invite both ladies to compete for the seat. Here I am on the show 10 years later and enjoying every minute. —Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of “Business Unusual” and Shark on “Shark Tank”
2. I married my soul mate.
I knew my wife, Elena, was the one for me the moment I saw her. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the same reaction. I didn’t have green eyes and was shorter than her height requirement, but I proved I was loyal. I kept letting her know I was interested and left her positive voicemails every month for a year — without a single return call.
I finally convinced her to go on a date with me. My wife was the toughest sale I’ve ever made. If I had given up, we wouldn’t be happily married today! —Grant Cardone, sales expert, who has built a $750 million real estate empire and NYT best-selling author; follow Grant on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube
3. I paid back $150,000.
When I got started, I had no choice but to persist. I’d borrowed over $150,000 from friends and family, and lost it all — including my mom’s life savings. I was forced to overcome all the times I was told no because if I wasn’t successful then I’d never be able to pay everyone back.
After years of failure, my persistence paid off. I’ve built several successful businesses and have developed a lot of skills and wisdom, which I now pass on to millions around the world. —Dan Lok, Chinese-Canadian serial entrepreneur, global educator and international best-selling author of “Unlock It!”; two-time TEDx opening speaker and founder of Closers.com, which connects companies to closers; follow on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
4. I became an entrepreneur.
I was running Prudential’s Long Island offices when they decided to sell. I wanted to buy them, but I didn’t have the funds. I called several banks, but they laughed in my face. Undeterred, I convinced Prudential to lend me the money. After six months they agreed, and I became an entrepreneur.
“No” simply means “try harder.” Don’t be afraid of failing or going for what you want — even if others think it’s impossible. Don’t let anyone’s limitations become yours. If you can think it, you can become it. —Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, a real estate brokerage empire with more than $27 billion in annual sales; connect with Dottie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
5. I built an empire.
I have been told no in my career more times than I can remember — whether for promotions, ideas, income recalibration, quota or cap negotiations. I’ve asked, been rejected, and still persevered. The key lesson I’ve learned is to figure out the other side’s pain point and align your resolution of their pain with getting to your goals. Be unbreakable. I once spent four hours in an annual review getting to yes!
When building an empire, not everyone is going to cheer you on or open the door for you, and that’s OK. Highly successful people see being told no as an opportunity to refocus on moving toward their goals without missing a beat. —Keri Shull, founder of the Keri Shull Team, which has sold over $2 billion in properties; co-founder of real estate coaching business HyperFast Agent; named one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by REAL Trends; connect with Keri onFacebook
6. I landed a huge client.
I pitched a potential client for over 10 years. I heard no from many people and it was uncomfortable sometimes, but they finally said yes and quickly became one of our largest clients.
No isn’t always a definite answer. Sometimes it just means “not now” or you caught someone on a bad day. Become adept at reading people when they say no. Then change that to “Perhaps, but not now,” and win them over with your determination. —Gail Corder Fischer, executive vice chairman of Fischer & Company, a leading global corporate real estate firm that provides consulting, brokerage and technology solutions
7. I discovered my path.
I’d been running my company for a while when I discovered a competitor had some challenges. I wanted to acquire his customers, but I was bootstrapped, so I made an offer with no cash down. He politely said, “No way.”
I spent weeks repositioning the deal (still with no cash down) and maintaining a good rapport despite the negotiation. Eventually we closed, and I immediately grew by a year’s worth of sales. If I’d had the money, I wouldn’t have discovered that I could grow my business this way without risk. Today I’ve done over 100 similar deals for no capital upfront and without debt. —Jeremy Harbour, investor and mergers and acquisitions expert; founder and CEO of Unity Group and Harbour Club; author of “Go Do!” and “Agglomerate: From Idea to IPO in 12 Months”; follow Jeremy on Twitter and LinkedIn
8. I found my soul work.
A few years ago I was making six figures, but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to talk about purpose, passion and flow, and inspire people to live their dreams. Everyone I spoke to, even my mentors, told me I couldn’t do it. They said I needed something more tangible, that it would never work.
I went for it anyway, even though my message fell on deaf ears and didn’t result in sales. Now I have a seven-figure online business where I only do my soul work. I refused to back down from my dreams, I was consistent, and I created exactly what I said I would. So can you. — Katrina Ruth, founder and CEO of “The Katrina Ruth Show,” a multimillion-dollar online coaching business for entrepreneurs; connect with Katrina on Facebook and YouTube
9. I won a court case.
A new law allowed a case to be dismissed if the lawyer could show that the crime was related to a mental-health issue. I had a case that judges and other lawyers said would never be eligible, but I knew my client deserved the benefit of this law. I contacted the lawmakers and learned more about it. We hired the best experts on mental health, and we won.
I was successful because I relentlessly pursued what I believed was fair, and because I was focused on getting a result. When others say something can’t be done, they’re usually focusing on their own fear of failure. Go for what you know is right. —Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm