Rejection in Sales: Goes with the Territory


Did you know that by the time you were 6 years old you heard, saw &/or lived through 1,000,000 impressions of rejection. 1,000,000 impressions of the word NO. That’s six zeros! You did. Did you also know that 74.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

Mom, can we go to McDonalds? NO. Dad, can I stay out past the street-lights tonight? Nope. Mom & dad, can I go to the movies with Michael’s family today. I don’t think so.  Duggan, can I play with your XBox?  No way… it’s mine.

Safe to say that by the time you were 7 you didn’t want to hear that word ever again (like, ever!) It’s natural. It didn’t feel good back then. It doesn’t feel good now. Completely natural.

As a matter of fact, it is so natural that seasoned professional salespeople still do all they can to avoid hearing the word NO. They actually do things that make no sense (in smart selling). They waste time & look busy. All in an effort to dodge that horrible feeling that reminds them of their youth.

What are some of the things that salespeople do to avoid NO? (not you, of course):

  • They accept the answer, “We want to think it over.” & really believe it when a prospect says it
  • They are quick to discount a price (let me see what I can do…)
  • They buy into a prospect’s stalls & objections & believe they can handle them (or that they will go away)
  • They re-work deliverables & develop a less-effective solution (another form of let me see what I can do…)
  • They spend tons of time with Carl (the contact that can’t make a YES decision to save his life)
  • They hold out HOPE (again, a brutal strategy for selling)

It gets worse! Not only do they hang in there far too long with a prospect, but they put it on their pipeline.

Imagine a Monday morning sales meeting. The Sales Manager says pull out your pipeline. Bradley pulls his out & starts to review his opportunities. The same opportunities he reviews every week. Deals stay on that pipeline for weeks, months, quarters. Why?  Because Bradley can’t stand hearing the word NO. So, guess what? Bradley never hears NO. Fearing the word NO creates false pipelines. Period!

Fact is if you don’t want to hear NO & your prospect doesn’t want to tell you NO (because he’ll need you in 6-12 more months to do this silly dance again) you will not hear NO. Your pipeline will be long. You will look busy. You will have a false sense that gives you confidence. YOU WILL STOP PROSPECTING. When you look at a long pipeline you will not prospect (I have a lot in the hopper…). If that hopper is filled with a lot of HOPE, you are cooked!

So, what do you do about it? You get comfortable with the word NO. You realize that NO is an occupational hazard for salespeople. You get to that reality & move on. You qualify strong & early on. You set clear expectations & understand what’s happening every step of the way. Takes a strong person. You up to it?

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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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