Overcoming rejection in sales is one of the most challenging elements of the job, especially for new salespeople. The very nature of the job means that you are going to hear ‘no’ more than most people, and all of that negativity can have an impact on a person’s confidence. Unless you can find a way to get past the feeling of rejection, your sales career is going to be cut short.
The first thing you have to realise about selling is that you are always going to experience more rejection than agreement. If you close at 30%, you are likely one of the best in your fields, and even then you will experience seven rejections from every ten pitches. However, simply knowing the numbers and statistics are not likely to help you feel any better when faced directly with rejection.
So how do we get over rejection in sales?
Check out our six top tips for overcoming rejection below.
1 – A Strong Pipeline
If you don’t have a pipeline, every possible deal feels like the only thing that is important. If you don’t close this one, there is nothing else in sight and so you put everything into making sure this one closes. The problem with this approach is you are going to subconsciously communicate a feeling of desperation which is really off-putting for potential clients. Also, as you don’t have a BATNA, you can’t walk away from the deal and are going to be in a very weak negotiating position. This mean, even if you do get the deal, chances are you are going to sell out to get it. Make sure you develop a strong pipeline, know your conversion rates and then work to improve your sales skills to improve your ratios.
2 – Manage Your State
We all know rejection is never personal. Perhaps the client isn’t ready, has other priorities or needs to get other things in place before your solution is appropriate. However, when we hear ‘no’, our inner voice tends to go into overdrive. ‘What does it mean?’ ‘Am I not good enough?’ These questions are rarely helpful in building a positive self image as a sales person. Rejection is going to happen, so the question you really need to ask is what is your reaction going to be? Are you going to close up and feel sorry for yourself, or are you going to let rejection fuel your motivation, drive and passion?
3 – Keep The Door Open
If you follow the Next Level Persuasion sales model, by connecting, educating and motivating before the close you will not destroy the relationship. This leaves the door open for a potential working relationship in the future. Closing hard and pressuring the client is likely going to leave a bad taste after you leave and that door will stay closed. Instead, accept the no graciously and suggest you stay in contact moving forward in case anything changes in the future. Don’t be surprised then when you get a friendly email in the future when you least expect it.
4 – Utilise Perceptual Positions
Perceptual positions is a useful technique to gain an alternative perspective on a situation. Take some time and really try and get into your prospect’s mind to understand what happened. Why did they say no? Where was the resistance to your offering? Have a colleague ask you questions to get you thinking differently about the situation. You may not want to run back to that particular client immediately with what you learn but you will definitely want to act differently in your next pitch based on your discoveries.
5 – Pitch Competitors
Did you learn from the sales meeting you were just in? If so, immediately go and pitch that prospect’s direct competition. If you have put time and effort into that meeting then put it to good use. Often, the first meeting in a particular industry will open you to specific language and terminology that, when you use it appropriately, makes you sound like an expert. Your next meeting with a similar prospect will go a whole lot better as a result.
6 – Ask for referrals
By the end of the next level persuasion sales model, you will have developed a good rapport and connection with your prospect. Sure they didn’t buy from you today for whatever reason, but they will have recognised the value of what you offer. If so, chances are good that they know someone else who would benefit from what you are selling. Ask your prospect who they know would benefit and ask for a personal introduction if possible too.
So there you go. There is no way to avoid rejection as it is an integral part of sales but good salespeople always find a way to get over rejection. Sometimes you will lose a big deal that you thought was certain, you will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and you will experience rejection. But remember, its not whether or not you experience rejection or not, but how you react to the rejection that will determine your success.