Gold Nugget #1:

“My goal was to drive everyone to a no. The quicker I could get people to say no, the sooner I could call the next person. Every time I got to a no, I was getting closer to getting a yes.”

— Chris Jaeb @ Broadcast.com

Who said it:

Chris Jaeb originally founded the company that became Broadcast.com, which is the company Mark Cuban bought from him and would eventually sell to Yahoo! For $5.7 billion.

Why entrepreneurs should care:

Broadcast.com was the first company to use the Internet as an audio broadcasting platform for sports and other notable events. In order to do that, the company’s founder, Chris Jaeb, had to secure broadcasting rights, which was difficult and time consuming work that required lots of cold calls to people who often hung up on him.

The same is true for your startup. As an entrepreneur in the early days of building a company, you’re going to be reaching out to lots of people — potential sales prospects, investors, partners, and employees — and trying to convince them to work with you. Most will ultimately reject you.

However, because people are nice (and/or don’t like being confrontational), they’ll still talk with you even when they know they’re going to eventually turn you down. Their attempt at being kind is actually a huge problem for you because the most valuable asset you have as an entrepreneur is your time.

Successful entrepreneurs always optimize for time, which is exactly what Chris’s advice is encouraging. Chris’s advice is a reminder about the importance of adjusting your mindset to not only expect rejection, but to go so far as to prioritize for it. Specifically, rather than approaching every conversation believing the person you’re talking with can be convinced to say “yes,” it’s more efficient to expect rejection and try to get the person you’re talking with to say “no” as quickly as possible. This will prevent you from wasting time.

In order to get to a quick “no,” don’t try to be subtle or otherwise “beat around the bush” when reaching out to a potential customer, investor, partner, etc. Instead, be direct and clear about what you want. Also, be clear about why you believe the thing you’re asking for will also be valuable to the person you’re talking with.

If the person says “no,” that’s OK. What matters isn’t that the person rejected you. What matters is that you reached that rejection as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Getting to a “no” as quickly as possible means you have more time to connect with other people and find the ones who do want what you’re selling.