5 Tips for Managing Rejection in Sales

5 Tips for Managing Rejection in Sales

Just ask Colonel Sanders…

There are only so many no’s you’ll hear in sales, before you eventually get a yes. Nobody knows when that yes will come, but you have to keep your confidence and professional attitude in check until it does.

The feeling of rejection is among the strongest emotions we face as human beings. It’s also the most destructive to our self confidence. Whether you’re a middle-schooler who’s been excluded from a group of your peers on the playground, or you’re a newbie entrepreneur or salesperson trying to get your sales into the black and make some money. It doesn’t matter, effectively handling rejection is probably more important than the ability to persuade in the initial stages of learning to sell.

Without thick skin, you’ll give up long before success shines down on you.

1. Listen and Learn:

Don’t be a blowhard who just rambles on and on, without listening to your prospects. Not only will this ignorance lead to a permanent “NO”, you might miss the exact reason why they’re rejecting you. Knowing why is important, because you get to learn what you can improve upon — ie., your pitch, their objections, a poor product. It might have nothing to do with you, which is important for preserving your self-confidence (we all have a tendency to blame either ourselves or others, instead of focusing on the real problem which could be a poorly designed product or service, negative price-point, or lack of value when compared to competitors). Identify areas you can improve upon — your pitch, your personality traits, and your product then rejection will be much easier to handle.

2. Realize “No” Isn’t Always Definite — or Permanent

Some customers automatically say no to everything, whether interested or not. This is how they process, not being the type to succumb to sales pressure or make a hasty decision in the moment only to regret it later. Also, it might not be the right time for them to purchase what you’re offering. Meaning, you don’t want to put on your sad or angry rejection face and say something that’ll permanently axe the sale — or let yourself get down thinking they didn’t like you, etc. Accept your current defeat gracefully and let them know you’ll keep in touch and always be available, should they change their mind.

3. It Isn’t Personal

Unless you’re someone who people naturally gravitate away from (ie., you have an offensive personality or body odor, etc.) chances are good that there’s nothing personal about the prospect rejecting you for the sale. They have their reasons (and you should always ask politely what they are), and taking it personally could cause you to act out and say something you shouldn’t (screw you!) or cause your confidence to be impacted in a negative way, hampering your next appointment.

4. Keep Ya’ Head Up

Tupac Shakur made this saying famous in his song of the same name back in the 90’s, and it will always be relevant in sales and in life. Body language speaks volumes about you when you’re talking to a customer. If you’re confident about your product and yourself, sales will always come more easily. However, when being rejected it’s important to keep yourself psychologically sound, standing straight with a smile on your face and breathing evenly and deeply.

5. Have a Support Network

Whether you go home afterward, or back to the office; a support network is vital to overcoming rejections. Tell your family all about the meeting and make a little fun out of the prospect (how they made silly faces, talking in a comical tone of voice, etc.) and have a laugh about the situation. Go back to the office and go over every aspect of the meeting, ask for input about what you might have done wrong — brainstorm ways to improve, practise your pitch on them, etc. Let someone give you a pat on the back and tell you that you did everything you could.

Not the End of the World…

There’s always tomorrow and there are endless fish in this sea of global business we currently live in. Colonial Sanders received well over 1,000 rejections before the first restaurant agreed to “rent” his recipe and sell it to their customers. Look at what became of Kentucky Fried Chicken in this century and the last. Success hinges on how you handle and persevere in the face of rejection.

Can you hack it?


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