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How to Handle Rejection in Sales

Sales is known to be one of the most demoralising careers with salespeople having to deal with rejection over and over again.

Ultimately, dealing with rejection comes down to the perception the individual chooses to take with what is in front of them. We always have choices as to whether we see rejection as pushback or simply a step closer towards the desired outcome.

Here's how I like to think about rejection:

1 Step Closer

Early in my sales career, I worked as a Business Development Executive, tasked with booking appointments for Senior Sales Representatives. In this role, I would often be making 200+ phone calls per day in pursuit of as many confirmed meetings as possible. Certain days I would be lucky to get 1 meeting while at my peak I was able to book 8 in an afternoon. 

I quickly came to realise that every failed phone call and every 'no' I received simply took me 1 step closer to that yes I was chasing. Next time you feel you’re constantly battling with rejection, just remember you’re creeping closer to the outcome you desire.

Prioritise Resiliency

Dealing with rejection is touch, irrespective of the role or industry you’re in. It’s important to prioritise building a resilient mindset that is capable of dealing with setbacks and prepared to get right back onto the wagon to do it all over again. 

Resiliency consists of having the ability to control and manage whatever life has to throw at you. The need for character resiliency becomes more important with experience and having the need to handle more perceived pressure to execute. Spend time building your mindset to embrace challenges and ultimately become comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances.

Ask Questions

When you receive a rejection from a prospect or client, remember to ask questions to ensure you understand their worldview. Rejection comes in many forms and in many cases, a no from a client may simply be a mask for a concern or objection you need to overcome.

One of my former Sales Managers had a rule of thumb that you must push back on a client saying no 3 times before accepting their response. Some may see this as extensive, but ultimately, it’s important to try and understand the 'why' behind their pushback in case you’re able to turn it around.

There is no feeling quite like beating an objection and it often starts with effective questioning.

Learn Lessons

In the great words of Albert Einstein:

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results

When salespeople are faced with rejection, those that are hungry often get straight back on the phone ready to move onto the next one. That being said, if you find yourself in a pattern of rejection after rejection, it’s important to take stock and learn lessons. When found in this position, I would often ask myself if it’s the same objection I have experienced before, why is it happening and what do I think I could do to change it next time.

View rejection as a lesson learned as opposed to a defining outcome. If we learn and take away a new understanding based on what has transpired, it only makes us more effective when we’re faced with a similar scenario.

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Disclaimer: All views expressed on this article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.

©2019 by Alex Alleyne

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