Handling Rejection With Grace

handling rejection

Handling rejection isn’t supposed to be easy; no one wants to be told “no,” especially salespeople. But, rejection is an inevitable part of life and the sales profession. The sooner you learn to deal with it in a professional and healthy manner, the better you will feel when faced with these situations. “It is way too easy to see this as a rejection of yourself,” writes Karen Repoli for Business2Community. “But, remember that they are not rejecting YOU personally; they are simply not ready right now to hire you…How you handle this rejection will foretell how your business will grow over the years.” She goes on to share three tips to handling rejection, two of which are discussed here:

  1. Thank your prospects 
  2. Be consistent 

Handling rejection like a pro

One way you should react to a rejection involves thanking prospects. While this may seem like the last thing you want to do, it’s a must. Ask for feedback, and then thank them for that feedback. The responses they give you will be valuable in understanding what might have gone wrong during the sale process. They can also give insight into when they may be ready to buy. As Repoli points out, “Don’t be afraid to ask that question because how can you improve if you don’t know why you received that rejection?” 

Also, keep in touch, even if it’s just following them on social media and responding to posts with likes, comments, etc. Share articles that can keep you both top of mind and positioned as an expert. “Continue following them, respond to their posts and comments, and show them and the world that you are available when they change their mind about your services,” she adds. 

Handling rejection well involves sustaining a relationship with the prospect even though they aren’t able to become a client at the moment. This shows both professionalism and maturity, and it also keeps a relationship going until the time is right to buy from you. 

Consistent follow-​up is necessary

Another suggestion from Repoli is to be consistent post-​rejection. Be consistent with outreach, follow-​ups, social media posts, etc. Basically, don’t throw in the towel when it comes to communications. Have a follow-​up plan for any time that you don’t complete a sale. And, Repoli suggests that this plan always includes an ask for a referral

The timing may not be right for Prospect 1 but maybe they know someone in their circle who would be your ideal client. It bears asking because you never know when a personal introduction can lead to your ideal client. And as a service provider one of the best ways to build your business is through word of mouth.”

Handling rejection in a professional way is important because it not only keeps you from giving up, but it can also keep the path clear for future contracts. Learning how to take each rejection and craft it into an opportunity does take practice, but the time and effort will pay off in the end.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.