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How To Handle Rejection In Sales


written by Natalie Davies

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Sales rejection isn’t a case of if, but when. We’re not being pessimistic – it’s simply a natural part of working in sales. There’d be something wrong with the world if every time you interrupted someone’s day to tell them about your latest, greatest offer, a few didn’t turn around and say no. What’s important however, is how you handle it.

So, you want to know how to overcome rejection in sales?

‘I want the truth!’

Lt. Kaffee – A Few Good Men

Maybe don’t go full Tom Cruise on this one, but still bear in mind it’s important to ascertain whether they really mean no. No might just mean not right now or even I don’t know. Gauging this uncertainty is where the skill lies, and is the first step towards really handling rejection by clarifying if you are, in fact, even being rejected. Don’t push too hard, but if you’re lucky you might find the door reopens.

‘And you mustn’t take it personally’

Alfred – The Dark Knight Rises

If Alfred can impart wisdom to Batman, he’s worth listening to. Part of rejection handling in sales is realizing that often it’s not anything you’ve done. The prospect might be having a bad day, a bad month, or quite simply not actually need what it is that you’re offering. Dealing with rejection is about recognizing this, and not second guessing your approach when it doesn’t need changing.

‘Can I ask why?’

Bruce – Bruce Almighty

That said, sometimes there may be some useful insights into knowing exactly why you’re being rejected. This is where we could all do with being as inquisitive as Bruce. When it comes to dealing with rejection, knowing why is important for closure. After all, if the prospect is actually having a great day and is in fact in need of your service but still rejects you, it’s paramount to know why – so you can reflect, move forward, and do better next time.

‘We must keep our relationship professional’

Bosley – Charlie’s Angels

Take a leaf out of Bosley’s book. Regardless of how a phone call or sales pitch pans out, it’s always important to stay professional. Sales rejection might be light and subtle, or might just get straight to the point. Either way, your response should stay the same. Keeping calm and collected is not only a reflection of you and your ability to sell, but might just change the dynamics of the sale completely, if handled correctly.

‘Don’t give up! Keep swimming!’

Marlin – Finding Nemo

If there’s ever a quote to live by, take one from Nemo’s dad – he’s been through a lot. If sales rejection is becoming more regular than you’d like, then consider your approach as well as who you’re approaching. Are they the right companies, are they the right contacts? Are you coming across in the right way? From overused phrases you need to avoid to our top 19 sales tips you’d be stupid to ignore, learn exactly how to up your game.

Overcoming rejection in sales is something that all salespeople have to learn to do. It’s like a badge of honor. If you’ve never been rejected, you’ve never really been tested, so who knows if you’re a real salesperson at all?! (Slightly overboard, but you get the point).

Knowing how to handle rejection is what’s important, so go out there and get rejected – just make sure you’re fluent with the Hollywood inspiration above before you do.

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Written By -

I’m another marketing bod here at sales-i (that is marketing exec come social secretary, branded wardrobe, stationary cupboard, fixer of the printer and chief maker of a terrible cup of tea). I get to work with the two delights that are Chris and Steve who have taken it upon themselves to educate me on all things football and Star Wars. I’m a Villa or Birmingham City fan depending on which of them you ask. I really rather enjoy reading and writing (I’m not that great at the maths thing, as Chris will tell you). What I lack in Star Wars and football knowledge, I make up for with a keen eye for a good wine and a great impression of a Wookie.

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