Rejection is a difficult aspect of professional selling for many salespeople. Here’s how top performers handle this challenge with ease.
“No.” That can be a tough word for a salesperson to hear. In fact, many of the thousands of salespeople that I’ve met have expressed the fear of rejection sometimes being greater than actual rejection. It can immobilize salespeople and affect their drive and performance. Likewise, I’ve met and worked with many superstar salespeople and collected from them the following seven mental habits that they say are the keys to overcoming rejection.
1.They expect rejection and don’t take it seriously
Superstar Mindset: “I know that not everyone wants or needs my product or service. Many will say ‘No.’ I expect that. No problem. What I’m focused on is all of those who will say ‘Yes’!”
They know that rejection is part of the game and they accept it. They are never surprised by it. It is not something to be avoided, but understood as reality and dealt with appropriately.
2.They prepare and deliver very good responses
Superstar Mindset: “Since I know that rejection is a part of professional selling, I will prepare and practice good responses when I hear ‘no’.”
Top performers are always ready with a response to rejection. They construct words, phrases and responses to redirect or reframe the conversation.
Example: The Gatekeeper says: “No thanks. We already have a service provider for that.” Many salespeople will immediately respond by talking about their product or lower price. A top performer might respond with something like this: “I’m glad you said that. Every one of our clients in your industry had one of our competitors as their vendor when we first met them. Over time, 100% of our clients in your industry migrated to us. Here are some testimonials from companies just like yours that did.”
3.They maintain emotional distance
Superstar Mindset: “I choose not to focus on my feelings or allow others to dictate my self-perceptions.”
Much of handling rejection is all in your head. James Allen’s perennial best seller for over 100 years is: “As a man thinketh, so is he in his heart.” Taken from Proverbs 23:7, this golden nugget of truth has direct application in professional selling. Many top performers have emotional strength – an emotional separation from others opinions, biases or rejection. They simply do not register it in their minds. This emotional barrier allows them to focus on the objective of each step of the sales process – not themselves or the disinterest of others.
4.They create a lot of opportunity for themselves
Superstar Mindset: “The more value-laden contacts I make within my target market, the bigger the pipeline I’ll have.”
Superstar salespeople don’t focus on only a few prospects. Rejection is higher when you create few opportunities for yourself and it is also much easier to take rejection personally. Therefore, focus your attention on creating your ideal customer profile and then systematically working your list. Remember, in many cases, rejection is purely due to timing. A prospect who says “no” today, can quickly become a valuable customer tomorrow simply because conditions have changed in their business.
5.They don’t take rejection personally
Superstar Mindset: “This is not about me. To them, I could be anyone.”
They’ve convinced themselves that they could be anyone. They understand that rejection is not directed at them personally. Instead, rejection can come from numerous reasons having nothing to do with them: improper timing, bad experience with previous sales reps, business conditions, economic challenges, and even moods. None of which gatekeepers or even decision-makers will tell you. They simply say “no.” No problem. Winners simply smile and move on to the next person on their prospect list.
6.They are mission minded
Superstar Mindset: “My primary objective is to execute the sales process at a high level, not worry about someone’s response to me.” Their focus remains on the mission – getting connected with decision-makers or influencers. Then they qualify the opportunity to determine the validity of the opportunity. Next, they seek to understand the buyer’s objectives, and so on. Rejection is simply an element of the sales process that is factored into the equation. Regardless of a prospect or gatekeeper’s rejection, the superstar remains focused on the primary mission. They don’t allow themselves to get derailed by someone’s words.
7.They know ahead of time they will be successful
Superstar Mindset: “There are individuals and organizations who need and want what I offer. Timing, accuracy and execution are my vehicle to success.” Dr. Fredrick Neuman says that playing the odds is a smart strategy to combat rejection.
“…sending in a resume in response to an advertised job has been studied. Approximately two per cent receive a response. That is not an argument for giving up. It means that even if you have been ignored, there need not be anything wrong with your resume. It is a matter of the odds. Sending in a couple of hundred resumes shifts the odds in your favor.”
The same applies for professional selling knowing that a certain percentage of the contacts made will eventually become customers.
Rejection causes many potentially good salespeople from achieving a higher level of success. Use these habits from top performers to adjust your thinking, overcome the fear of rejection and start landing more sales.