• Ben Kinerman-Daltrey

Sales Rejection - Learning to Enjoy the Process

“I have failed over, and over, and over again in my life,” Michael Jordan expressed in his well known Nike commercial. “And that is why I succeed".

No one likes being rejected. We would never choose to have it that way, and you will never meet another human being who seeks rejection. Steli Efti cleverly points out how MRI studies have shown that when we are rejected, a neurological pathway in our brain is triggered – the same neurological pathway that illuminates when we feel physical pain.

But, why do we view rejection in such a negative light? And why do we often allow it to crush our egos? Efti explains in his Forbes article that rejection is an evolutionary survival mechanism. Humans started off living in hunter-gatherer tribes, and those who were removed from the groups rarely managed to survive alone. Naturally, human brains developed a reaction which caused us to fear rejection. Even though time has evolved and such tribes no longer exist - the reaction still very much exists.

What is important to remember is - the initial reason why rejection made us feel bad, doesn’t exist anymore. It is just a reaction that managed to stick around, but it can easily be changed with the right mindset.

Nowadays, something which all highly successful people have in common is the ability to be persistent in the face of multiple rejections. Rejection is inevitable in life, so if you give up as a result, you may never achieve success.

Stephen King is a best-selling author who has written at least 85 books. His first book ‘Carrie’ was rejected numerous times in the beginning until his wife came across the book in the trash when he had decided to give up. She persuaded him to give it another shot and reach out to more publishers, and since then the book has sold approximately 350 million copies.

Rejection in Sales

Successful salespeople are prime examples of humans who have managed to transform the initial human reaction to rejection since our hunter-gatherer times. The ability of good sales professionals to react positively to rejection is something to be admired. Salespeople who excel in their career are the ones who can take the negativity out of the word “rejection” and view every objection as an opportunity to do better, and keep persisting.

Good sales professionals are extremely resilient. They hear the words “no” and “but” numerous times a day, every day. They take each “no, I think it’s too expensive”, and each “but, I have something similar so I'm not interestedon board; and instead of dwelling on it, they will retrace how to add more value to their proposal the next time they try to sell.

So, how do we overcome rejection in sales?

Below, are a few tips on how to deal with the inevitable rejections which all sales professionals experience...

Avoid Looking Pushy/Desperate

Did you know that only 2% of sales happen when a salesperson meets a customer for the first time?


That nearly 64% of people asking about your product will not make a physical purchase for at least 3 months, and 20% will take up to one year to make a purchase?

Remember that sometimes an initial sales rejection doesn't qualify as an actual rejection. Perhaps your prospect doesn’t have the finances, or they don’t know enough and want to research more about your product, or they may need time to reflect on and digest everything which you have told them.

Building trust is more important than a quick one-time sale. If they don’t like you personally, they will buy from your competitor instead. Instead of convincing your customer there and then, allow them to reflect and follow up in a few days.

Avoid Taking “no” [too] Personally / Expect Rejections

If you come across well and are polite to your customers, there is no need for emotional stress. The conversation was about the product, not you.

Did you know that 92% of sales representatives quit their job after just 4 rejections?

It is difficult not to take several rejections in a row personally, but that’s what differentiates a great salesperson from a poor or average salesperson – the ability to detach themselves emotionally from all of the “no’s", and keep persevering.

To avoid disappointment, know your statistics before taking on a difficult sales role. If you are aware that it takes 20 phone calls on average before gaining a lead, then you will know what to expect and won’t take the unsuccessful phone calls to heart. In addition, If you know your product inside out, and come across as approachable and friendly - you will also be confident that you have done your best. (Close to 60% of customers have reported that sales representatives are unable to answer their questions due to a lack of knowledge.)

Practice Various Closing Techniques

Regardless of how much time you spend educating your customer about why your product is the best - closing a sale is often where it all goes wrong. There are endless techniques which you can spend time learning, where you can discover which one suits you and your personality best.

You may have offered solutions to all your lead’s problems, showcasing the wonderful benefits of your product, to which they have displayed great interest - but transitioning from your pitch to a sale agreement is not always easy to achieve. Experiment with different techniques, and over time you will know what will work best with each customer as you gain experience in how to read different personalities.

Resilience, perseverance, a warm personality, and a passion for your product are all essential in order to succeed at being a great sales professional. It is important to accept rejection as an inevitable part of the process and view every hesitation and objection as a learning curve. Put your ego aside, trust in yourself, know your product and target market and enjoy the journey.

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