Rejection is a big part of every salesperson’s life. And salespeople who are rejected more than most tend to be more successful than most.
They understand the risk-reward trade-off that rejection can bring, as well as the learning experience gained from rejection.
If you’re in a situation where you need to respond to an immediate rejection, try to step back from your anger, confusion and negative feelings and count to 10 before you say or do anything. This time to think may salvage the prospect for future business.
Don’t blame others
While many times a sale is a team event, the salesperson gets the front-line results — win or lose. You bear the ultimate responsibility for a sale or the lack of one. Try to avoid the trap of blaming others. It may make you feel better for a moment, but it won’t help you to become a better salesperson over the long haul.
Seek to understand
Do an autopsy on what happened when you lost. Many times, we lose a sale, and we wipe it from our memory and move on. The most effective salespeople are resilient and have short memories. They ask themselves:
- Did I really listen to the needs of the prospect?
- Did I miss the timing of the sale because I didn’t do a good job following up?
- Did I miss the sale because I was unaware of events occurring in the market or competitive environment?
- Was I too aggressive?
- Who got the sale and why?
Approach a lost sale with sincerity and the desire to get better. There is a reason why you lost the sale. Find out what it is. Most people will be honest and give you the reasons why you lost the sale. Learn why you lost, and you will start winning.
Write it down
Write down what happened immediately after you lost the sale. A recording of what you’re feeling may be helpful when you look back at the situation. When you revisit the lost sale later, you may see an answer or a thread that will lead to an answer. If it isn’t written down, there’s no way you will remember the exact situation later.
Don’t strike back
One easy thing to do when you lose sales is to let the prospects know they were wrong, they made a mistake and they will regret it. Being negative or critical of the decision will turn off any future business. Accepting the rejection gracefully will allow you to touch base with the prospects and let them know of any new product improvement or innovation down the road.
Adapted from: Sell More and Sleep at Night, by John Pierce, sales consultant.