What Successful Sellers Learn From Rejection

BY Jessica Helinski
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Rejection can be difficult to face, but, depending on your outlook, it doesn’t have to be all bad. Salespeople can learn from rejection if they take the time to adjust their mindset. And face it, rejection is unavoidable; at times, even the best sellers are told no. By pivoting and looking for lessons, instead of internalizing the rejection or even quitting, you can easily roll with the punches that come your away while also improving.

Uvaro shared an article that highlighted what sellers can learn from rejection, including:

  1. An improved definition of the ideal customer.
  2. What skills need improving.
  3. How to have a more positive mindset.

3 lessons to learn from rejection

The world’s greatest salespeople always find ways to overcome rejection and sell more products when dealing with rejection in sales,” Uvaro points out. “They don’t let rejection dampen their spirits. Instead, they use it as fuel on the fire.” The article goes on to share examples of lessons that sellers should look for, and embrace, post-rejection.

An improved definition of the ideal customer

Sellers should have an ideal customer or buyer persona. But sellers need to adjust who that ideal customer is over time. Being rejected presents a perfect opportunity to reevaluate who you should be targeting. And if you find yourself facing multiple rejections, a poor buyer persona may be a major factor in those losses.

Use the time post-​loss to cast a critical eye on your buyer persona. How long ago was it created? Has it been updated to reflect new products or services you offer? Have you re-​evaluated it in light of shifting buyer preferences?

What skills need improving

Selling is a process that reps continually improve upon, and Uvaro points out that rejection can actually be “proof that you need to grow.” You can learn so much about yourself by examining losses and the situations in which you hear a “no.”

Unfortunately, many reps simply give up when they hear “no.”

Uvaro reports the following surprising stats about sellers and rejections:

  • 44% of salespeople quit after the first no
  • 22% don’t follow up after two rejections
  • 14% don’t continue after three rejections
  • 12% stop following up after the fourth rejection 

Instead of quitting like many reps do, use those “no’s” to instead inspire you to improve and keep going. Examine the situations in which you’re rejected and pinpoint where things went wrong. Perhaps you’re using the wrong outreach tactics or not properly identifying prospects’ pain points. Once you’ve clarified weak points in the process, be proactive and make improvements. Don’t just quit; learn from rejection. Use it as “an opportunity to pivot towards your greatness,” as Uvaro suggests.

How to have a more positive outlook

As SalesFuel has discussed before, mindset matters in sales. In a Manage Smarter podcast, SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith points out that it’s mindset that makes sellers able “to be resilient and pick themselves up off the mat whenever they've had adversity handed to them.”

Acquiring a more positive outlook is one positive that reps can glean from losing a deal. Facing rejection, especially multiple times, can wear you down. After so long, it’s natural to start questioning your ability to sell. Negativity can creep in, clouding future attempts at success. But, if you can reframe your thinking following a loss, you are doing yourself a huge favor both short and long term. As Uvaro points out “Life is tough, and your thoughts have to be tougher. There isn’t a better path than a sales career if you want to learn the importance of a constant positive mindset.”

Losses don’t have to be all bad

No salesperson lands every meeting or closes every deal. Rather than look at these challenges as a total loss, start embracing what you can learn from rejection. You’ll find that these small setbacks can help you grow as a seller, ultimately limiting how many “no’s” you hear down the road.

Photo by cottonbro