Not every sales rejection is a dead end. Here are eight ways to get back in the game.
Being in sales isn’t easy. Your sales quotas are critical to your company’s growth and your job security. Even the most talented and persistent sellers face sales rejection, sometimes on a daily basis.
So how do you deal if you’re always being turned down? Simple: build an arsenal of tools to manage sales rejection, turn it to your favor, and to move on to success. A “no” today doesn’t equal a “no” tomorrow.
Did you know Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity basketball team? He kept hustling until he was known as one of the greatest basketball players of all times. He said, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Think sales is the only industry that experiences rejection? You’re in good company:
- J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers because they didn’t think there was a market for more children’s fantasy novels. They also thought her book was too long.
- Three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinema twice.
- Abraham Lincoln lost his job in 1832. In 1833, a business venture failed. In 1838, he was defeated in the race for speaker. In 1843, he ran again and lost. 1848, 1849, 1854, 1856, 1858… all failures.
- Madonna was rejected by Sire Records. At the time of her rejection, she was told in a letter that she was not ready, but they recognized talent in her. She later signed with them in 1982.
As you know, selling is about persuasion, tenacity, timing, and need. The following tips and examples will show that behind every successful sale is a person refusing to give up believing in herself or her product.
1. Ask probing questions
There are a lot of logical reasons people say no, but sometimes, if you get down to the heart of the problem, you can still turn them around. Find out what your audience doesn’t like about the proposal. By asking probing questions, you are likely to identify a different way to pitch your product or service. Also, asking discovery questions is a way to show you’re truly interested in your target’s perspective. It can give you an opportunity to form a bond and learn more.
2. Preserve the relationship
Networking is important, so make sure to follow up with leads who reject you. Preserve the relationship and take any feedback from rejections into consideration for future pitches. The same advice goes for contacting former customers who parted ways. That rejection is a big one, so find out exactly why the deal fell through, and take notes on how you could improve
3. Be creative in your approach
Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Sometimes we need to make our own opportunities if the traditional ones aren’t working. Selling a product or service is one way to capture sales lead, but what if they aren’t buying? Think in terms of what the customer wants and needs and try to solve their problem first. Collaborate with the customer and deliver customized solutions. Be unique and be successful.
4. Have a sales strategy
Maybe your strategy – or lack one – is the cause of rejection. Have you researched your audience and determined your outreach? Are you cold calling without researching or networking without a pitch?
If you didn’t hit your numbers, determine what might need to be changed and change it. Then, add the missed amount to the next month’s goal and apply your new strategy to hitting the combined numbers.
5. Get a mentor
If sales rejection is a significant issue that you can’t seem to escape, ask a more experienced salesperson for advice. Bill Gates, a Harvard drop-out, credits part of his success to his mentor, businessman and investor, Warren Buffett. Many successful businessmen and salespeople have mentors to guide them and give them emotional support and sound advice.
6. Try insisting
There’s something to be said about not accepting refusal. Say, “I hear your concerns about X, Y, and X, but here is why our product and service is right for you.” Then, follow your statement up with a detailed plan of how your deal truly is the best deal for them. Information can be overwhelming. They’ve likely heard several pitches, all with filled with ideas. If you can specifically detail your course of action, your insisting will pay off.
7. Don’t take it personally
A sales rejection is not a reflection on you. Very often it’s an issue with timing. Maybe your pitch was good, but the real decision maker wasn’t as ready as your prospect to commit. It could be that something changed with your lead and you’re unaware. They could have lost investors recently or had key staff quit last minute.
You’ll hear a lot of “no’s” in your career. Don’t allow yourself to beat yourself up every time it happens. This is a true case of: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Half of succeeding is knowing deep in your heart that you can. If you don’t stand behind your product or service, who will?
Do you keep getting rejected? The more prospects you have, the better change you have to close the deal, get out there and network, pitch, and close the deal!
It is rare to find success without failure. Proactive salespeople welcome rejection as a chance to innovate. If you do this, you’ll have a greater chance at a longer and more productive sales career. Develop a healthy personal philosophy about rejection, after all, you’re not alone.
What type of sales rejection have you experienced in your career? Please share any valuable lessons with our readers in the comments section.