The Importance of Being Rejected

Rejection. It could be from the attractive person you met in a bar who didn’t want to give you his number. Or it could be from the hot prospect that you thought was in your pocket, who eventually said, “no thanks.”

If you’ve never been rejected for anything, then you haven’t really put yourself out there. Taking risks and going for the big sale means opening yourself up to rejection, which some salespersons refuse to do. You’ve heard the old saying “You’ll never know until you try.” If you’re always playing it safe and only going with a sure thing, you’ll never know what you could have achieved had you not been so timid.

Sales is not a career for the faint of heart. Rejection is just part of the numbers game that you play when you cast out your net far and wide. You’re not going to catch everything, but you will catch a few.

To put things into perspective, Dawn Wofford, Managing Partner of Benchmark Consulting, identified the following statistics on her LinkedIn page recently:

  • ONLY 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact
  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect

So if you’re not being rejected on a daily basis, maybe you’re not trying hard enough. This is not to say that rejection doesn’t sting a little. It’s what you do with the rejection that counts.

There are several different ways of looking at rejection. Some of the more interesting ones are as follows.

1. Track your rejection rate. Some sales manager actually track rejection rates of their sales staff. They believe that as long as the rejection rate stays stable over a period of time, the sales person is putting himself out there in a meaningful way to try to get more clients. When people have a low rejection rate, they’re only going for the easy wins, which means they’re not performing to their full potential. And if you have a high rejection rate, then obviously you need to take another look at your pitch. Let’s say over a 6-month period, you determine you have a rejection rate of 60 per cent, then for every 10 sales calls you make, you should land 4 and be rejected by 6. This is assuming that you’re working at your top performance level. If your rejection rate doesn’t fluctuate over the next 6 months, you’re working at your capacity, but if it goes up or down, then something is wrong and needs fixed

2. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Some sales persons believe that a “no” simply means the prospect doesn’t have enough information yet. You can start by asking, “What part of this deal is making you say no?” From there, you can start to address their concerns. If you can turn some of a prospect’s no’s into yes’s, you might be able to get a final yes. Chicken Soup for the Soul author Jack Canfield says after he gives a pitch or proposal, he asks prospects, on a scale of 1 to 10,“Was my proposal a 10? If not, what would it take to make it a 10 for you?” Persistence often pays off, especially with strong personalities. Some sales persons take this as a personal challenge to win the business of a strong personality. They like to prove that they are exceptionally professional in the face of rejection. But beware. It can also backfire. Especially if you become pushy.

3. Develop a thick hide. Learning how to heal quickly from a rejection causes scar tissue to build up on your sensitive points, and can make you a better sales person in the long run. Teach yourself how to deal effectively with rejection. Know that it’s not personal; these prospects don’t know you and they’re merely rejecting a proposal. A sales person who doesn’t fear rejection because they’ve learned it’s part and parcel of the sales process can make more sales calls and can keep at it until they’re successful. In fact, sales managers look for a sales force that can take rejection in stride and continue to push forward in the face of adversity. If you can’t learn to deal with rejection, maybe sales is not the right career for you.

Think of the many people over the course of recent history who have been rejected, yet pushed on to become highly successful. J. K. Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary because she day-dreamed too much. Both she and Stephen King were rejected by numerous publishers before someone finally took a chance and published their first novels. And Walt Disney was fired from his reporter job because they thought he wasn’t “creative enough.”

If you’re struggling with rejection, we can help. Our experts have tips and techniques on how to deal with rejection, and we offer courses on how to crank up your closing skills. Call our experts today to learn more about how we can help you – 0207 043 1582.

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