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Thursday, June 21, 2012

7 Ways to Cope with Sales Rejection

Many years ago, when I was a rookie salesperson, I had a sales manager tell me that “sales was a numbers game” and that instead of being upset about being rejected by a prospect, that I should be “excited” because it was just one more rejection on the way to a sale. “You’ll make one sale for every five rejections,” be boomed enthusiastically. “Be happy about that rejection ‘cause it meant that you only have 4 more ‘no’s’ and you’ll get a ‘yes’!”

That never worked for me.

Every rejection I got made me feel like I was failing the prospect (they wouldn’t get the benefit of my product), failing the company (they needed sales to keep the operation going) and failing myself (no sale, no income). I couldn't make myself feel happy about rejection.

So I came up with some other ways of dealing with sales rejection. Try ‘em they might work for you, too.

  1. Don't take it personally. When a prospect says, “no” it does not necessarily mean that they do not respect you or your product/service. Instead of using the rejection as an excuse for self-blame, look at it as a learning opportunity. The prospect said, “no” for a reason; what is that reason and is it possible to address that reason so it will not be the cause of future rejection.
  2. Manage your expectations. This is actually a twist on the “welcome rejection; it’s a step closer to the aale” philosophy of that sales manager so long ago. Know your sales ratio: understand that rejection is inevitable when you're selling, but you may not get as discouraged if you know how much to expect. If you know that on average it takes about 25 calls to get an appointment with a decision maker, then you will not get as discouraged if you do not get the appointment on the first call. That being said, this is not an excuse for trying to get what you want on the first call; it is just a way to keep things in perspective.
  3. Set long-term goals. With a personal goal, you can reframe your thinking to cope better with sales rejections, A long term goal (e.g., pay for your children’s college education, take a dream vacation) can help you stay focused on the big picture and persevere by not letting small rejections along the way discourage you.
  4. Acknowledge your wins. It only takes a few wins to carry you psychologically. Recognize your accomplishments and focus on the sales you have won. You will find that they outweigh the objections. One of my coaching clients ends her day by jotting down the top 3 or 4 things she accomplished during the day. She says that it helps her to recognize progress and dilute the impact of rejection.
  5. Lock in a routine. To help you stay motivated to “stay out there” following rejection, a routine can keep you moving in the right direction. For example, set aside a couple of ½ hour times for calling prospects (e.g., 9am-9:30am and 4pm-4:30pm). By developing a routine and forcing yourself to stick to it, you can put rejection aside to meet the requirements of the routine. NOTE: many of my coaching clients can make about 20 calls in a focused ½ hour.
  6. Talk to your peers. You’re not alone. The more we get rejected, the greater the tendency to isolate yourself. By talking to others in similar positions, you can gain valuable perspective that helps you cope with your situation and normalize what you are experiencing. 
  7. Don’t consider rejection as a deadend. Just because you’ve been rejected doesn’t mean that the prospect will never become a customer -- communicate regularly with potential customers. Even if a prospect has rejected a previous offer, things might change (in your business or theirs) that would make your product/service attractive to them in the future.

Nobody likes to be rejected, but hopefully these suggestions will help you keep it in perspective so sales rejection does not slow down your progress towards your goals.

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