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Sorry, lovers, this one’s for the sales team.
Hey—sales ain’t for the faint of heart, either.
Dealing with rejection is simply a part of the life of a sales person. Whether you can remember the pain of your first door-to-door gig, facing constant pushbacks, or you simply feel like you’re stuck in the “no” zone these days, getting a sale shut down is never the dream.
But that doesn’t mean all rejection is bad. In fact, as your manager has probably reminded you more than once this week, a “No” today can just well turn into a “Yes” down the road—and in fact, if handled properly, it can be even bigger than the scope of the initial deal.
More than anything, it’s not about how many times you’re getting rejected by prospects: rather, it’s about how you deal with that rejection that makes you a great salesperson.
With that in mind, here are five great ways to deal with rejection. And whether they lead to a yes on the other side, we’re confident that these proven strategies will help you grow—and maybe even look forward to the next time a prospect tries to break your heart.
Let’s look at the numbers. Marketing Wizdom founder Robert clay shares with us the startling statistic that only 2% of sales are made on the first attempt—and what’s crazier than that is that 80% of sales are made after five no’s.
So 4 out of every 5 sales that you make are going to involve getting rejected at least five times. It’s not you—it’s just a part of the process. So you better get used to it!
Do you want to know the real kicker? Clay tells us that 92% of salespeople don’t make it past No #4. And that means that only 8% of salespeople are cashing in on 80% of the potential sales out there.
If you’re expecting rejection, it makes it a whole lot easier to move past those first few no’s. And if you can’t, then simply put: you’re missing out on the opportunity to be a true top performer.
Long-time door-to-door salesman Damian Thompson wrote about how he transformed the way he thought of “no” over on the LeadFuze blog. For a while, he allowed a “no” from a prospect to put him in a “rejection slump,” which just lead to more and more failure.
But then one day he realized that every time a new person told him no, it was a chance for him to refine his pitch—to learn what an objection was and practice responding to those objections.
Once the pressure was off to get a “yes,” from anyone one person, he realized he could understand how to avoid a “no” that much easier. “Even within the interaction,” says Thompson, “a ‘no’ was a good thing—I could discover and work through a prospect’s objections and win them over. … Mess-ups and fumbled pitches be damned, I’d get as many “no’s” as possible because I knew it would lead to success.”
When you’re a in a slump, focusing too much on the single result can actually lead to forgetting the actual goal. Think of it like learning an instrument: when you first start playing guitar, are you going to get mad at yourself every time you strum a bad chord? Of course not!
Instead, you’re going to take your guitar teachers lessons, go home, and repeat the motion—in common parlance, we call it “practice.” But as we discussed above, in sales, every activity you make counts as practice. So if we truly value that time, a great way to get out of your slump is to focus on the activity, not the momentary result.
Harkening back to the words of sales guru Don Surath, the good folks over at the PipeDrive blog remind us that, “When you’re afraid, it’s easy to assume you’re the only one experiencing this challenge, which makes things worse.” They go on to quote some of Surath’s best advice, “If you make 20 calls a day for five days, you’ll get rid of fear, and you’ll have success: you’ll get three appointments and one sale.”
The point that Surath is making here is that you have to let the rejection roll off your back: it’s just another part of activity. And if you can stick with the activity, eventually good results will follow. Which leads us to our next point…
The last thing you want to do with rejection is to react poorly. Of course, when we feel threatened, our natural instinct is to lash out. But it’s precisely that instinct that came come around and bite us right in the karmic rump.
Don’t allow yourself to get in mindset that anyone’s out to get you. This business is tough, and it takes perseverance to cross that finish line to a win. But just remember that that’s part and parcel with the job—and the more you can let it roll off your back, the more people will actually want to hear what you have to say.
OK, we said this wasn’t about love, but maybe there are still some lessons to be learned from the broken hearts club…
Just like in life and relationships, when we go through rejection, it’s important to accept it—and an essential part of the journey toward acceptance is understand and processing what happened.
And just like some of the advice above reminded us, it’s easy to assume that we’re the only one who’s gone through the devastation of rejection.
But we’re not. Far, far from it. If you’re in an office, or even on a slack channel with your team, you’ve got the best sales-rejection-therapists you could ever hope to ask for within an arm’s or a click’s reach. Talk to a coworker or a manger. Tell them what happened, and talk about what you felt went right or wrong.
Through that conversation, you’ll find that what you’ve been through is totally normal—and not only that, but it’s a part of the path of growth toward becoming the best sales person you can be. Analyze your actions, talk through a solution, and improve for next time. Now go get back on that horse, seller. It’s time to shine.
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