Rejection: How to Deal

As a salesperson, rejection is inevitable. How you react to rejection can have an impact on your
success down the road, as well as others’ perceptions of you. “Over the course of a salesperson’s lifetime…you will be told no, be rebuffed, and even be harshly rejected due to the difference between you and your competitor over what may seem to be a minor or even trivial difference,” writes Tim Brown and Dan Streeter in an article for SalesandMarketing​.com. As unfair as it may seem at times, you CAN learn to professionally handle situations in which you are rejected. Brown and Streeter go on to share some tips to help you rethink how you view rejection and what to do after hearing "no." Below are a few of their insights:

  • Avoid labels. After a few rejections, some salespeople may start labeling themselves (i.e. “I am a horrible salesperson,” “I’m a failure,” etc.). This is a dangerous move and can negatively impact future sales performance due to weakened confidence. Interrupt these negative thoughts by repeating mantras that focus on the event or situation rather than yourself–and continuously remind yourself that each is a learning experience.

  • Truly reflect. Many salespeople face multiple rejections due to repeated mistakes. When you experience a setback, take time to question what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future. Go so far as to ask the prospect why he or she said “no” to gain an even clearer understanding. Then, make a conscious effort to adjust your strategy.

  • Don’t burn bridges. Even though a prospect chose a competitor, you can still forge a valuable relationship with him or her. There’s major opportunity to demonstrate your value even if you aren’t officially doing business together: Introduce him or her to a new contact, pass along a helpful piece of industry news, etc. As one company says, “We know that our competitor’s best clients are just one mistake away from calling us.”

Rejection is tough, but as a salesperson, hearing “no” will likely be part of your career–no matter how great you are at your job. By reacting to each “no” with thoughtfulness and professionalism, you not only set yourself up emotionally for future success but also project a confident, professional image to others.

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 Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.