They say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I am pretty sure no one who has ever heard this felt better afterward. This said, let's talk about rejection. If you are in sales long enough, you will experience rejection.
Rejection can make your heart race, palms sweaty, and make your body go into fight or flight mode. This is because the fear we experience today has the same effect on our bodies as the fear of being eaten did so long ago. Humans traveled in tribes long ago to avoid being eaten by predators. Occasionally someone was rejected by the tribe and left to fend for themselves. They did not last long.
So, you see the fear of rejection is quite old and still very real in our minds, even if we no longer worry about being eaten alive.
Rejection is Personal
When we experience rejection, the emotions we feel can range from humiliation to anger. We either get angry at ourselves or the rejector. None of these feelings are productive and leave us in a bad mood, sometimes setting the tone for that day or longer. Some of us take rejection to heart and believe we are not good enough. These feelings can last a lifetime. I had a student that experienced rejection in the fifth grade by a girl, and that fear traveled into adulthood making him terrified of the rejection that comes with sales. There is a way to conquer this fear if this sounds familiar to you.
Rejection is a one-sided form of communication
When we effectively communicate we share information. Rejection is a partial exchange, or at least it feels that way to the rejected. The salesperson asks, and the buyer says no- sometimes in a not so subtle way. The way buyers refuse an offering says a lot about the person in general. It is not you; it's them.
Laugh it Off; It Helps with Rejection
When we get rejected, our brains release an opioid similar to the release we have when we experience physical pain. We also experience this chemical release when we laugh. If we can find humor in the situation and permit ourselves to laugh; we get a double dose of feel-good endorphins, lessening the pain of being rejected.
It Is A Numbers Game
Recently, leaders in the sales training community disputed whether sales is a numbers game. Sales is definitely a numbers game, the more no's you get, the higher the chance of hearing yes. You also become better at the art of persuasion, learning what worked when you heard yes, and learning what is really valuable to your buyer. When you learn what works- write it down. I coach sales people and tell them to keep a sales journal. A simple notebook you leave in your car will work. If you don't know what worked, how will you ever create a repeatable, sustainable road to success?
You have been rejected, and now you run for your life! This is the best time to ask why, you will learn a lot about your sales process, your buyers, and more. What do you have to lose? You already got rejected. The best part is sometimes rejection is an automatic defense mechanism in the buyer's mind. When you ask why they don't even know why, which gets them thinking and talking to you- and sometimes they end up saying yes! I swear I have seen this happen more than once when a seller has the nerve to ask why.
What is Your Backup Ask?
Have you ever thought of what to ask for that might be less of a commitment? Think of alternative options the buyer may find of value. When you offer choices, this creates the opportunity of saying no to this, but yes to that. Try it and see how many times you get a backup plan to succeed. Some examples of a great backup ask are referrals, a less expensive choice, or to revisit the decision to buy in the future. If you ask the reason why the buyer declined, you will know which option is appropriate for your backup plan.
People are Kinder Than You Think
Can people be jerks? You bet! However, the majority of people are very friendly. If you have been rejected, you will find the rejector does like rejecting you any more than you like getting rejected. (It is not you, it's the ask) While some people could use a class in elegant refusal, you will find the slings and arrows of rejection are not nearly as bad as what your mind has imagined. The best part; nothing will come out of the bush to eat you! I promise.