6 Ways to Overcome Rejection & Close the Sale
By Maddy Osman on May 14, 2018
To be an effective salesperson you have to be punctual, sociable, and persuasive.
Excellent brand knowledge and time management skills are also crucial. But there's one more important skill that separates sales pros from the CEO’s who pay their checks. That skill is the tenacity to handle rejections, one after another, without losing drive.
Everyone who works in sales gets turned down. But very few salespeople can take dozens of rejections in a row without getting discouraged. Learning how to conquer this isn't easy, but it is possible with the right mindset and a few brain-training techniques.
#1: Know That Most Sales Pitches Won't Work
Most people think that the ideal salesperson is a shark who "doesn't take no for an answer". But anyone who's experienced in the art of sales knows that this is wrong.
First, most initial sales pitches end in failure.
In fact, only two percent of successful sales are made on the first contact. Even more impressive is that 80 percent of successful sales happen on the fifth contact or after (so make sure your follow up game is strong!). This means that every successful salesperson you know has heard an average five or more no's for every sale.
Second, you should take no for an answer, at least temporarily.
“No” doesn't necessarily mean no forever. It just means no for right now. So don't get flustered. Instead, keep tabs on the client and check in every so often. You never know when a client might change their mind. Just be sure to space out your calls so you don't become a pest.
By using an automated follow-up approach, like with Cirrus Insight’s Flight Plans feature, you can ensure that you never forget to check back in.
Flight Plans allow you to integrate and track all follow-up activities, including phone calls, tasks and emails. Flight Plans make use of merge tags to auto-fill customer information, so that you can easily work off reports in Salesforce, or even a .CSV if you’re using Cirrus Insight without Salesforce. After determining the subset of prospects you’ll be emailing, you’ll be instructed to create a series of emails and other follow up activities (like a reminder to give them a call at a set time!).
Your individual Flights might be made up of the chain of email communications you usually send out after meeting someone at a networking event, after a positive first contact is made from a cold call, or how you normally connect with a referral from a happy customer. By working once to set up each Flight Plan, you’ll save time (and mental energy) for similar prospecting efforts in the future.
#2: Strategize With Colleagues Using Data and Client Feedback
Regardless of how comfortable you become with getting turned down, know that you’ll still have some bad days.
Who knows the struggle better than a coworker or colleague? Simply venting to them instead of keeping your frustrations inside can clear your mind more quickly. And a clear-headed salesperson is an effective salesperson.
Your coworkers can be useful for far more than water cooler chatter, though. You should pick their brains for successful strategies and apply them to your approach. You should share your successful strategies with them as well. When possible, take turns listening in on each other’s calls, then provide feedback afterward. An outside perspective can help you to identify problems you didn’t realize that you had.
This will this make you better at sales, and will help you to form bonds with people who can help you through a slump. You can never have too many people on your side!
#3: Create a Success Pattern
Psychology is at the core of an effective sales strategy. One of the most basic ways to effectively use psychology to your advantage is to focus on your brand's successes while downplaying its shortcomings.
You can also apply this basic sales strategy to your calls, and how you perceive them, to make rejections less discouraging.
Instead of aimlessly making call after call, you should create a success pattern. To do this, track your calls and average out how many rejections it takes before you make a sale. It's a simple switch, but it will totally change your approach.
Success patterns turn victories into expected occurrences. Making 100 calls is hard when every call is a total gamble. But it becomes much easier mentally when you know that there should be a success coming after every 35 dials or so.
What's more important is how it makes you think about rejection. Streaks of no's won't knock the wind out of your sails as easily. Your success pattern will establish these rejections as bumps on the road to another sale.
Furthermore, success patterns aren't just useful for keeping motivation.
You can (and should) use them to improve your sales skills. Form new success patterns for different sales approaches, times of day, and types of prospects. Even just these little bits of information can have a shocking impact on whether you meet your goals.
#4: Develop Your Sales Persona
Keeping track of your data is important. You need the objective measure of your performance to plan properly. But remember that being a salesperson is a science as well as an art. Your sales persona is just as, if not more important, than the product you're trying to sell.
Take Girl Scouts for example. While Girl Scout cookies are admittedly delicious, people who buy them know that they could get a similar cookie at any grocery store. However, Girl Scout troops continue sell millions of dollars in cookies every year. This is because the Girl Scouts have a recognizable brand, and the appropriate sales personas for the job.
Don't just look at the hard data if you're having trouble making successful calls. You should be spending just as much time refining your sales persona as you do crunching data.
#5: Approach Every Client With A Fresh Perspective
As soon as you get on a call or start an in-person meeting, the first thing your clients pick up on is your attitude.
If your clients can sense that you're getting annoyed, it reflects badly on your brand. But it's hard to stay fresh after making lots of unsuccessful calls, consecutively. Certainly, no one who's ever worked in sales would blame you for getting frustrated!
However, it usually isn't other salespeople who you're trying to approach. It's prospects, who do not know or care what kind of day you're having.
Dealing with this comes down to stress management and how well you cope with rejection. However, taking regular short breaks from calls can also help.
Your breaks don't need to be long—as little as 5 to 10 minutes between every batch of calls can help you keep your head on straight.
#6: Don't Take Rejection Personally
Get this in your head—sales rejections aren't personal.
Sometimes, there really is nothing you could do or say that would change your client's mind. And when they’re saying no, they’re saying no to what you’re selling—not you personally.
But remember that every "no" brings you one call closer to finally hearing that yes!
Final Thoughts: How to Deal with Rejection in Sales
Dealing with rejection in sales has a lot to do with having the right attitude. Use your resources—like colleagues who can commiserate, and tools that automate future follow-ups, to ensure that your own negative self-talk never gets in the way of a sales opportunity.
How do you get past a bad feeling of rejection in your sales job? Tweet your thoughts at @CirrusInsight, and we’ll share our favorites!