I can think of no other profession that’s as closely associated with the term rejection as a career in sales. You might say that rejection is as natural to a salesperson as trail dust is to a chuck wagon cook: it comes with the territory. In fact, frequently the first two orders many new sales reps receive are “get out and stay out!”
The sales profession can be financially and personally rewarding for those tough-minded salespeople who have developed the capacity to keep rejection in perspective. How well do you take rejection? Your ability to persevere in the face of rejection is a key factor in determining your income potential and career longevity. Obviously you can never totally eliminate rejection from the selling process, however, there are actions you can take to reduce the frequency and minimize its mental and financial impact.
I am absolutely convinced that the best antidote for taking the sting out of rejection is to prospect with greater intensity and qualify more effectively. Prospecting for new business is critically important and for the majority of salespeople, it is the most challenging and stressful aspect of their profession. Successful sales reps are proactive and recognize the importance of prospecting for new business on a daily basis. When you don’t have enough prospects, the tendency is to shoot yourself in the foot by down-playing the needs analysis and qualification process. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig; it’s a waste of time, and it irritates the pig. By having more prospects to work with, you automatically water down the impact of any single “no sale” and are far more likely to qualify your prospects realistically. Improper qualification is in direct relationship to increased rejection; it’s a self-imposed, vicious cycle.
At the end of the day, sales, like baseball, is a game of statistics. A baseball player gets paid by the number of times he hits the ball, not by the number of times he strikes out. Keep score and know your sales effectiveness numbers so that you can improve your batting average.
When a salesperson experiences a “no sale,” there’s a common weakness to point fingers and look for mitigating circumstances such as a bad economy or a lower-priced competitor, when in reality, it just might be them. It’s appropriate to take rejection personally if you learn from the experience and view rejection as nothing more than a feedback system. Top producers look at rejection as merely a whetstone that allows them to hone their presentation abilities and sharpen their people skills. So, the next time a prospect says no, just remember that you can profit from the experience and that… some will, some won’t, so what!