You’re in sales. Only a percentage of the people you talk with are ever going to be interested in what you’re selling, so welcome to rejection!
There are some things you have control over, to be sure. Depending on the quality of product or service you’re selling and your skill as a sales professional, you can increase the percentage of Yes’s you get. But there’s no escaping that many people won’t be interested in what you’re offering, so rejection is par for the course. It’s literally baked into your daily work.
Hey, we’re all human. It’s far more pleasant to be valued and respected and loved than it is to be rejected! And even though when you get a ‘No’, your prospect is probably rejecting your offer and not you, it can still feel really personal.
How do you handle rejection?
Our response to rejection can be insidious. We tell ourselves we’re fine, but our actions say different. We pull back. We stop prospecting. And when we do put ourselves out there – there are bills to pay, after all – we are tentative. We show up to our conversations with worry and even desperation. People pick up on that defeatist energy and take a pass on working with you. The downward spiral continues.
So how you handle rejection isn’t a minor matter.
Here are a couple Quick Tips to help with the ebb and flow of sales. They are obvious, but worth repeating:
- Stay in motion. It’s a lot easier to keep momentum going than it is to start it from a stand still. (As anyone – okay ME – can attest from letting a great work-out routine slide!)
- Keep lots of irons in the fire. This takes the pressure off any one deal to come through. Knowing that you have a healthy funnel of leads and potential business in the pipeline will give you a reservoir of confidence that shows up in your sales conversations.
But these tips are small potatoes.
Wouldn’t it be far better to have a stronger and more lasting confidence? The kind of confidence that can sustain you for a lifetime, and pick you up when you’ve been knocked down? For that, you’ve got to go deeper.
To build a solid foundation of confidence, you’ve got to go within. These four pillars will help you create that foundation:
What are your Core Values?
Start on a personal level. We all have core values but we’re rarely called upon to define them. What really matters to you? What offends your sense of justice? What feels deeply right and fair to you? What does integrity mean to you? What non-negotiable priorities do you have? Take some quiet time to define and reflect on the values you live by and/or aspire to. Journal about them to clarify your thoughts and then see if you can narrow them down to 5 words. This takes some time and effort but knowing your Core Values will give you an unshakeable personal power.
What are your Core Business Values?
How do your personal core values play out in your work? You may find that there are some gaps or conflicts. If so, make some decisions to put yourself back into alignment. Inner conflicts are incredibly draining, and they show up subconsciously when you’re trying to persuade others. If there’s something that’s ‘off’, your prospect will feel it. You may have said all the right things but for some undefinable reason they don’t trust you. Look within first, to see if you believe in you!
Do you believe in what you’re selling?
Go deeper than a knee-jerk ‘of course’ response here. If you’re selling lawnmowers, you could say ‘of course – everyone needs a lawnmower and we make a good one’. But if you’re consistently out there hearing that another mower is far superior, it’ll shake your belief and make it harder to sell.
If you really do believe in the product or service and in your firm, can you say why? Never mind the marketing brochures. This should be a private question you ask yourself first. When you can answer ‘…because x, y and z’ with clarity and conviction, you will notice two fundamental benefits: you’ll experience a quiet confidence that makes prospecting easier, and your ability to position to prospects the advantages of your service will rise sharply.
Become an expert.
Seriously. Know your sh*t. Be so knowledgeable and skilled that you simply can’t be ignored. When you embrace excellence as one of your core values, the need to prove yourself will drop away. You won’t be worried about ‘gotcha’ moments because you have a thorough knowledge of your business. And any time a prospect does stump you, you can respond with honest curiosity!… ‘That’s a great question! I’m going to find that out and get back to you by tomorrow.’
When your confidence is shaken, the fastest way to get back in ‘the zone’ is to plant your feet firmly back on the ground. Forget targets and competition and pressures and noise. Get back to your core beliefs. These are the building blocks of your integrity; your solid foundation. From this place of self-respect, you can withstand any storm and you’ll find the courage to expand again.