Skip to Content

Influencers Invited Sales Blog

Why You Need to Copy Brian Acton

Have you heard of Brian Acton?

I hadn’t until last week. He co-founded the “WhatsApp” messenging service. Last week Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19bn. Brian Acton has a reported 15% stake and so walks away with $2.9bn – and is reportedly planning his next holiday!

What’s the connection?

The funny thing is, Brain Acton applied to Facebook in 2009 for a job – and got turned down. His reaction? On Facebook he wrote “Facebook turned me down. Looking forward to life’s next adventure”.

Next, he applied to Twitter – and was rejected. He tweeted “Got denied by Twitter HQ. Would have been a long commute”

So he joined forces with his friend Jan Koum who was in the process of starting WhatsApp. Great story.

And the point…

Brian Acton got turned down from Facebook and Twitter – but reacted in exactly the right way…enabling him to bounce back VERY quickly and sow the seeds of his WhatsApp success.

My point is that although you may not be able to control much of the ‘stuff’ that happens in your life — you have 100% control over your reaction and response.
YOU always get to choose how YOU feel. No matter how bad it seems to get, the ultimate truth is that you’re in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

Everything you experience has an impact on you…it can’t not. Some experiences have a positive impact and some have a negative impact…and others somewhere in between. It’s how you interpret the experience that makes the difference!

And so in sales and business

For example… you make a call to a sales prospect that you think is going to buy and they tell you they have decided to buy from a competitor. You’re really disappointed and do all you can to explore their decision in the hope that you can change their thinking. The prospect sticks with their decision – end of conversation.

Now how you process that news internally is now up to you. Do you think it’s all so unfair? Does it ruin your next hour? Does it affect the rest of your day? Are you so upset that it impacts the effort you put in to make other sales happen?

Well you could respond that way…or…

Alternatively…straight after the call you decide what changes you’re going to make to your approach to limit the risk of this happening again. You explore every step of your strategy and learn from it. You reflect on the buying strategy of the prospect so that when you talk with them again you know exactly how they buy…and tweak your approach to suit them. And you ask yourself that magic question…”OK, that happened, what am I going to do about it?”

How much more in control will you be if you use this approach instead? Trust me…a lot!

“Yeah right…it’s not that easy”

If you’re thinking “yeah right…” then you’ll be thinking like lots of others do, but let’s be clear, with thinking like that you’ll never make the choices that give you the control you need.

You can start with small things that have a limited negative impact on you. Practice the alternative way of thinking and see what happens. Once you’ve mastered this with little things you’ll strengthen your ability to do this with more challenging experiences.


…reacting in a completely controlled and positive way…how much more sales success do you think you’ll achieve? Only you know the answer to that but what I can tell you is that when I train and coach people in this area and they incorporate this approach, it transforms their results. It’s impossible for this thinking not to have a positive impact when practised.
Sales? It’s all about the psychology…YOUR psychology.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

About the author

Hi I’m Leigh Ashton of The Sales Consultancy

Whether you’re a small business or a leading brand, an area manager or a Chief Executive, whether you’re new to sales or an experienced sales professional. Even if you’re not in sales at all but want to understand it, you’ve come to the right place.

The World of Sales is changing.

Today’s conventional sales training doesn’t address the psychological barriers that get in their way.

My approach takes your sales team through a process that:

* Helps them identify their psychological barriers and gives them the tools to overcome them
* Teaches them how the mind works so they can keep motivated and stay focused
* Gives them the ability to identify the psychological patterns of their clients and prospects so they connect with them at a deeper level and close more sales

And at a higher level…

* It creates more success in other areas of their lives so they are happier generally…and happier sales people generate more sales

Wherever you are on your personal sales journey what’s the best course of action for YOU.

– Sales Training – that actually gets results
– Leadership and Management
– Personal Coaching and Mentoring
– Sales Mentoring Programme
– NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and how it can help you accelerate your success
– Keynote Speaking