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Easy Ways to Reframe Rejection

The financial industry is rife with rejection, and some agents/advisors deal with it better than others. How do they deal with it? By building up their emotional strength and not taking it personally.  Indeed, it is possible for advisors to desensitize themselves to rejection and become like Teflon. However, if your days are filled with calls and meetings that are going sideways, it’s a good time to consider what you want to start doing differently so you can get better results.

There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to prospecting. One school considers it a numbers game. The other thinks prospecting is all about quality. For the numbers group, you make certain number of calls, which turns into a certain number of meetings, which lands you one client. That ratio of calls and meetings to clients is what motivates you to keep playing the odds.

The school concerned with the quality of prospecting claims you have control over your sales calls with your attitude and are constantly looking for ways to develop communication skills as well as refine your definition of your perfect prospect.  This group spends more time qualifying prospects by asking questions so that each time they contact a prospect, they are continuing to build rapport and trust.

There are countless sales training programs and books on how to handle rejection out there. Most of them focus on ways to handle the usual objections, such as “I’ll think about it,” or “I’m too busy to talk right now.” It’s great to be prepared and have responses available so you can handle the call professionally.

In the meantime, here are some easy ways to reframe rejection:

1) It’s about who would be a good fit for you.

Once you have clearly identified who your perfect prospect is, then you can stop wasting valuable time connecting with those who don’t fit your profile. If you know who it is that you’d like to connect with, and you have a solution to that person’s biggest problem, then you have a basis for a conversation. Remember, they aren’t turning you down. You are just looking for a specific person and it isn’t them.

2) Determine where you are in the process.

If the overarching goal is to make a prospect into a client (your sales funnel), where are you in that process? Was the goal of the call to build rapport and see if they want to meet for coffee or to qualify them by finding out what is their biggest concern? By focusing on the process, you are essentially eliminating the less-than-ideal prospects from your sales funnel and making room for the right prospects to move through it. This shift in attitude puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you control over which prospects you are focusing your time and efforts on.

3) Close the expectation gap.

Part of the reason for calls or meetings that don’t land clients is that there is gap in what advisors expect from prospects. For example, if a prospect agrees to a “second opinion meeting” and says they are happy with their current advisor and thanks them for the second opinion, then the meeting for the prospect was just that, a second opinion. However, if the prospect was unhappy with their current advisor and really wants to know if they can get better value somewhere else, then the goal is very different as they are looking for a new advisor. Advisors need to ask themselves, what is the goal for that meeting/call and is that expectation aligned with the prospect?

The next step is to evaluate the call or meeting with some basic questions:

  • Did I listen more than I talked?
  • Did I follow the agenda for the meeting?
  • Did I have a realistic goal for the meeting?
  • Did I qualify the prospect thoroughly enough before the first meeting?
  • What could have worked better?
  • What question did they ask that I didn’t know the answer to?

By taking time after each meeting or call to do some self-reflection, you can then start to implement these lessons learned and enhance your prospecting process.

Additional Tips

1. Don’t allow pride or ego to create a high need for approval in you.

2. Resist the temptation to say or write derogatory things about prospects who refuse.. Making them feel guilty that they haven’t taken you up on your offer to make them a lot of money does not make them wrong or stupid.

3. Don’t tell prospects that they are “really hard to get a hold of.” It sets a bad tone for the call.

4. End calls or meetings on a positive note with prospects as they will remember that more that how the meeting/call started.

About Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at You can email Rosemary at:

Aaron Hoos, MBA, has worked in the financial industry since 1997. Formerly a stockbroker, insurance broker, and award-winning sales manager, today he writes for the financial and real estate industry as an educator and marketer. He is working on his second book. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @AaronHoos.

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