While rejections in sales are inevitable, they can be disheartening. Many sales professionals find that the fear of rejection is a more significant threat to their performance than the sting of the actual rejection.
The dread of rejection can paralyze you, leading you to hesitate to pick up the phone or lose your drive. If you let it, it can even stop you from closing sales.
Strong salespeople, no matter their specialism, have learned to deal with rejection in sales. In this article, we’ll look at how to foster a healthier relationship with sales rejections and how best to get over rejection quickly when it inevitably happens.
Expect Some Rejection
The first defense against rejection dejection is to recognize that being rebuffed is a big part of the job. Statistically, most people will turn you down. Not only will you hear many more noes than yeses, you’ll learn to appreciate a firm “no” more than a total lack of response.
It’s better to have a firm answer, even if it’s a “no,” than to waste your time trying to reach out to someone who will never respond. And if you take the right approach, you can use rejection as a learning opportunity – but more on that later.
The reality is that not everyone will need your product or service, and for others, it’s just not the right time. Internalizing this fact will help you bounce back more quickly after each rejection.
As a caveat, going into each call entirely expecting rejection is a recipe for failure. You’ll lack confidence and sound unconvinced of the product you’re supposed to be selling. As the old saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Cultivate the mindset that every call has excellent potential for a sale, but if it doesn’t work out this time, it isn’t the end of the world. Especially when the call has improved the business relationship and made an eventual sale more likely.
It’s Nothing Personal
There are many reasons prospects don’t turn into sales. The majority of these reasons have nothing to do with you or your performance. Still, it’s tempting to think it’s something you personally have gotten wrong, particularly if you work in a competitive sales environment and see your sales trailing behind those of your peers.
Negative thoughts can compound, and you can blame yourself for situations entirely out of your control. Perhaps the lead doesn’t have the budget right now, or they’re locked into a long-term contract with a competitor, but a string of defeats can lead you to label yourself as poor at your job. “I can never close a deal!” you might think after a particularly discouraging day.
Refuse to internalize these negative thoughts. When you start to blame yourself, re-visit your triumphs. Think back on your big wins, the times you’ve closed clients or received excellent reviews from your manager.
Use Rejection as a Learning Tool
By contrast, it’s also dangerous to never think rejection has anything to do with your approach. Be constructive. Look at the parts of the sales process you have control over. Was there anything you could improve next time?
Record your calls and listen back to them for missteps. If your sales dialer has a call coaching feature, ask a manager or experienced teammate to listen to your call live and give you feedback. Every failure is a chance to learn and improve, so you don’t make the same mistake again.
Explore the Reasons Behind the Rejection
Simply recognizing that a lead didn’t convert into a customer isn’t particularly useful on its own. There’s a lot you (and your company) can learn from any “no.”
- Did the customer already have a provider? Use this as an opportunity to learn about the competitor, uncover their weaknesses, and be prepared to show customers why your product is better.
- Is it definitely the wrong time for them to buy? Store all the details in your CRM and put a note on your calendar to follow up with them when it’s a better time.
- Did they have budget concerns? Explore how you can show your product or service can save them money in the long term.
- Did they have specific concerns about the validity of your product or service? This feedback can be invaluable for improving what you sell to reach a wider audience.
These examples aren’t to show you how to overcome common sales objections (we cover that in a different post), but to highlight the types of helpful information you can gain from what looks like a negative result. Not only will your own sales process improve, you’ll also generate ideas for differentiating your company from the competition and find errors in your own sales process.
You should always be evaluating and tweaking your sales cadence to ensure you’re contacting customers in the best way at the right time. Every time you get a rejection, note the reasons you believe things went awry and use it to hone your sales process.
Remember: You Are Building a Relationship
In most industries, a cold call that results in a one-call close is like Bigfoot. You might have heard rumors about it, but the chances you see it yourself are slim to none.
Expect at least eight touchpoints before even securing a meeting or discussion with a decision-maker. Does that mean the first seven touchpoints should be considered a failure? Of course not! They were all part of building the relationship with the customer that’s required in a modern sales environment.
During this sales dance, you’re learning about the lead’s challenges, wants, and needs. People these days are very capable of doing their own online searches for products, so a salesperson needs to bring a lot more value to the table. You need to offer helpful solutions, industry knowledge, and real expertise.
You need to build trust.
Having the mindset that you’re building your sales relationships with each call, no matter the outcome, leads to better success down the road. You want your customers to think of you as a trusted advisor who is there to help them, not take advantage of them.
When you view every call as a do-or-die sales call, you run the risk of alienating a good prospect with your pushy demeanor. Instead, go into each call with the goal of improving your relationship with the customer and demonstrating your value to them.
This will not only ultimately lead to more sales; it means that no sales call can ever be considered a failure because you’ve succeeded in your goal of strengthening the business relationship.
Keep these points in mind, and rejection will sting less and less as time goes on:
- Expect some rejection. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
- Don’t take it personally. Some things are out of your control.
- Try to find the reasons behind rejections and learn from them when you can.
- Remember that selling requires building a relationship with your prospects, and relationships take time.