Rejection in sales is a fact of life, but can feel demoralizing for reps. Fear of rejection is a major cause of sales call reluctance, and frequent rejection is one of the biggest reasons otherwise promising sales professionals abandon the career altogether.
Sales leaders can help their salespeople overcome a fear of rejection and build confidence in their ability to succeed despite it.
Here are 7 tips you need to teach your reps for handling rejection with confidence—and meeting their goals despite it.
1. Learn to Expect Some Rejection
One of the best antidotes to sales rejection is also the simplest: Know it’s a possibility. A salesperson who understands that some level of rejection is a normal part of the business will be less likely to be deflated by it when it happens.
Teach your reps to consider each “no” as a way to thicken their skin and improve to achieve more “yes” replies in the future.
2. Refuse to Internalize It
Bouncing back from rejection is a function of resiliency, an important soft skill for salespeople to master.
Help your salespeople to understand that a rejection is never a reflection of their personal worthiness. If their close rate is lower than other salespeople, it may mean there is a problem in the way they are selling, but that doesn’t make them an inadequate person. It just means they need more training, skills, practice—or a reevaluation on whether the prospect is fully qualified.
To stop negative self-talk in its tracks, suggest your salespeople keep a list of the successes they’ve achieved to remind themselves of these things when a string of rejections gets them down.
As their leader, you should also be intentional about praising each of your reps for wins both big and small. Public recognition or a few words of encouragement go a long way in motivating your team members to keep their heads up and persevere.
3. Evaluate the Nature of the Rejection
In a sales call, “no” doesn’t always mean “no.” Sometimes a “no” is actually just an objection, and objections can often be overcome. Teach salespeople to treat a prospect’s “no” as information rather than rejection, and to follow up with discovery questions based on that information.
Did the prospect say:
- No, we already have a provider
- No, we don’t have the budget right now
- No, that’s not something we need
If the prospect already has a provider, salespeople can follow up with questions about how well that provider is serving their needs. If they don’t have the budget right now, the rep may be able to help them find the money they need. If the prospect thinks they don’t need the solution, a well-designed questioning strategy may unearth a need they don’t know exists.
Even when the sale can’t be salvaged immediately, the relationship doesn’t have to end forever.
Teach salespeople to accept rejection graciously, and then to stay in touch. You never know when the prospect who said “no” last quarter might suddenly have the budget, time, or immediate pain to motivate them to return to the conversation, especially if they were impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of your rep.
4. Always Learn from Losses
Rejection in sales is especially painful when it happens late in the sales process. But even then, not all is lost. Teach your salespeople to view these experiences as learning opportunities.
Conduct a post-mortem to understand why a loss happened. Teach salespeople to ask the customer why they chose not to make the purchase, and evaluate the process to see where things went wrong.
They can then use that information to improve their performance in the future.
5. Seek Support if Necessary
Sharing our losses and disappointments with those who understand makes them easier to bear.
Encourage salespeople to seek support from each other, and to share their rejection stories openly so everyone can learn from them. When handled well, this can have the added benefit of improving camaraderie and team cohesion.
6. Focus on the Next Opportunity
One of the best ways to overcome rejection in sales is to focus your attention on the next opportunity.
Salespeople who have lots of action in their pipeline are less likely to be depressed by each instance of rejection. Encourage salespeople to mourn their losses, but to quickly focus their attention to the next opportunity.
7. Reduce Sales Rejections
The only thing better than overcoming rejection is avoiding it in the first place!
Help your salespeople learn from each rejection and continually improve their sales skills, so that over time they experience less and less rejection and more and more success.
Set your reps up for success by providing them with quality sales training, such as IMPACT Selling®. The system teaches your sales reps about pre-call planning and gives them the ability to position themselves as strategic advisors when they do get face-to-face with clients or prospects.
Your salespeople will learn to ask the right questions, master negotiation, increase their selling skills and sell in the way the buyer wants to buy.
View the video below to see a client of The Brooks Group discuss her organization’s experience with IMPACT.
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