If you’ve been in sales long enough, you’ve probably experienced sales rejection. This rejection takes on different shapes and sizes, depending on your sales role. An inside salesperson connects with a rude, challenging prospect. The prospect ends the call early. (A nice way of saying they hung up on you.)
You’ve been courting a prospect and have been hearing all the right answers during your many sales conversations, indicating you are about to land a new account and hit your quarterly sales goal.
Life is good.
Until you read the first email in your inbox. “We’ve decided to go another direction.” No dialogue, just a cold impersonal email.
Rejection hurts and often impacts a salesperson’s ability to get back into the “sales saddle.” Instead of continuing with the sales activities they know they should be doing, they find everything and anything to do other than talk to prospects.
Logically, salespeople know they need to bounce back but often lack the skills to bounce back after rejection.
Here’s two ways to bounce back quickly and effectively. Understand the WHY AND WHAT behind rejection.
#1: WHY. Research shows that the same part of your brain “lights up” whether you are feeling actual physical pain or emotional pain. Rejection is real and it can hurt.
The challenge is that physical pain is often visible. You can see a broken bone or a severe burn. So you apply wound therapy or physical therapy.
Emotional pain is not visible, often hidden beneath the surface. With emotional pain, in this case rejection, sales organization don’t have a sales wound care strategy in place!
So, WHAT can sales leaders do?
#2: Install a rejection training program into your sales training processes. Teach your team the EQ skill of self-awareness. Remember, “That which you are not aware of you cannot change.”
Teach your team to be aware of:
- The self-limiting stories they start telling themselves after a sales rejection. “I’m not good enough or smart enough. They chose to do business with another salesperson, am I not likeable?”
- Catastrophizing. One of my favorite authors, Dr. Paul Stoltz, discusses this concept in his book, The Adversity Quotient™. He shares how easy it is for human beings, salespeople, to blow small things into big things creating ineffective emotional responses.
"I didn’t get this deal so I’m going to miss this quarter’s goal. And because I missed my goal, my sales manager is going to put me on a PIP which means I’m on my way to losing my job which means I’ll need to sell my house and…”
You get the picture.
Teach your sales team to create new stories and perspectives around sales rejection. Ask them to write down the lessons learned from this failure, this setback. Next, ask them to share how those powerful lessons are going to serve them in conducting better sales conversations in the future.
You will hear answers such as, “I’m going to create a different approach when prospecting. I’m going to get better at calling out the unspoken objections during a sales meeting so I don’t end up writing practice proposals.”
This reframing and new story helps your sales team is see rejection in a new light. They see the gift of lessons learned by experiencing a no, a rejection.
Change the story, you change the emotion and you change the sales outcome.
Rejection is real. However, limit the emotions created from rejection that often paralyze your sales team from moving forward.
Incorporate rejection training into your sales training programs. Then and only then will you create a sales team that rebounds bigger, better and stronger after rejection.