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Handling Rejection in Sales: Top Tips for Sales Resilience


October 30th, 2023

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Handling rejection in sales is never easy. 

For most sales professionals striving to achieve professional goals, reach lofty quotas, and close more deals, “no” can be one of the scariest, most painful words in the English language. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good your product or service might be, you’re not going to be able to convert every lead. That’s why it’s so important for sales professionals to learn how to handle rejection as proactively as possible. 

Handling rejection effectively makes sales professionals more productive and efficient in their roles, improves their mindset, and minimizes the risk of stress-related burnout. 

Here’s your simple guide to handling rejection in sales.

What is Resilience in Sales?

Handling rejection and building resilience in sales are two concepts that often go hand-in-hand. Sales is a challenging field, no matter how much experience you have. 

Every sales process comes with a risk of rejection. There’s a chance you’ll reach out to a customer that’s not the right fit for your company, product, or service. Your prospect might not be able to afford your solution, or they may struggle to see its value. Some prospects don’t even respond to calls. 

That’s why sales professionals need to learn how to handle objections throughout the sales strategy, and separate their personal feelings from the sales process.  

In simple terms, sales reps need to build resilience to ensure they can continue pushing forward, even when closing a deal isn’t easy. Around 44% of commission-based reps give up after hearing a single “no”. But the best sales reps know they need to overcome rejection, bounce back when customers raise objections, and keep pushing forward. 

Tips for Handling Rejection in Sales

Successfully handling rejection in sales involves a combination of emotional resilience, mental grit, fortitude, and mindfulness. Professionals need to know when to “let go” of a loss, and when to keep pushing forward to turn a “no” into a “yes”. 

Most top performers have their own unique strategies for handling sales rejection. Here are some of the top strategies you, and your sales teams can replicate. 

  1. Don’t take it personally

Nobody likes rejection, but a “no” from a prospect can often feel much worse to a sales rep when they take it to heart. Ultimately, succeeding in sales requires reps to learn how to preserve a level of emotional distance between themselves and the sales process. 

Rather than looking at every rejection as a personal slight, professionals need to be able to see that rejections aren’t always about them. Remind yourself that a customer may have said “no” to your product or service for a variety of reasons. Avoid looking at every rejection as a commentary on your sales skills, or ability to connect with others. 

  1. Change your mindset

Mindset plays a big role in sales success. As mentioned above, building a mindset around resilience and growth can help you to respond more effectively to rejections, and achieve more goals. Rather than ruminating over every “no” and seeing it as a personal failure, take a growth mindset approach. 

Analyze your sales pitch, the process you used to connect with your customers, and the reason why they eventually decided not to make the purchase. This will help you to define areas where you can grow and improve in the future. You might need to change the way you approach each sales call, explore different communication methods, or simply update your prospecting strategy. 

A growth mindset will encourage you to learn from your failures, and see each “no” as an opportunity to become a more effective sales professional. 

  1. Focus on the Next Opportunity

As a sales leader, you’ll likely interact with thousands of different prospects throughout your career. If you’ve done everything you can to convert a lead, and they’re still not budging, sometimes the best thing you can do, is let go and move onto the next opportunity. 

Using the lessons you’ve learned from your previous rejection, start planning your next call, email, or customer conversation. Ask yourself what you can improve next time around. Can you do more research into each prospect, to tailor your pitch to their specific needs?

Could you take more time to validate the prospect before you move onto the next stage in the sales journey, to ensure they’re the right fit for your business? 

  1. Hone Your Sales Skills

Rejection can be upsetting, but as the growth mindset shows us, it’s also a learning opportunity. Every rejection offers an insight into areas where you might be able to improve your sales skills, and boost your results with prospects in the future. 

Instead of obsessing over your failure, implement an actionable strategy for refining and improving your core sales skills. For instance, developing your active listening and communication skills can help you when building rapport with leads in the future. 

Learning how to identify prospects more effectively can stop you from wasting time on the wrong leads and opportunities. If you’re not sure which skills you should be focusing on, ask a colleague to review your last sales call and offer their feedback on where you can improve.

  1. Celebrate your Successes

Finally, one of the best ways to both build resilience in sales, and handle rejection more effectively, is to focus more on your “successes” than your failures. It’s easy to get bogged down focusing on every “no” you get. However, it’s important to celebrate your areas of success too. 

The next time you win a deal, or convert a lead, give the success just as much attention as you would a failure. You can even assess the conversation, to identify key tactics and strategies you might want to replicate in future sales calls. 

Don’t forget to celebrate the successes of your team too. Giving your colleagues positive feedback, and connecting to others can help you to maintain a more positive, proactive mindset. 

Quick Tips for Handling Sales Rejection

The steps above will all help you to build more resilience in sales, and improve your response to rejection. However, there are some additional steps you can follow if you’re still struggling in your sales role. Here are our top tips for becoming a rejection master:

  • Stay professional: Keep your emotions in check. Stay calm in the face of rejection, and preserve a friendly, appreciative tone. This will help to improve your company’s reputation, and may lead to new opportunities. For instance, a customer might decide your solution isn’t right for them, but determine that they can refer you to another potential client. 
  • Be persistent: As mentioned above, you need to be resilient to thrive in sales. Don’t automatically assume that every “no” means the end of a conversation. Sometimes, you might just need to approach a sale from a different angle to change your prospect’s mind. 
  • Expect rejection: Understanding that “no’s” are common in sale can help you to accept and learn from rejection more effectively. Recognize that even the best sales professionals get their fair share of no’s every day. 
  • Collaborate with your team: Talking about rejections, why they happened, and how you feel about them with your team members can be helpful. It can offer you a new way to identify opportunities to improve your skills, so you can enhance your performance in future. 
  • Measure your progress: Over time, as your sales skills evolve, and you learn from each rejection, you should find you get fewer “no’s” in the sales process. Paying attention to the progress you’re making by monitoring win rates and closed deals can keep you motivated.

Become a More Resilient Sales Rep

Handling rejection in sales can be painful, but it’s something virtually every sales leader will need to master. Your sales success isn’t defined entirely by the number of “no’s” you get from prospects. It’s how you respond to those rejections, learn from them, and improve in future that counts. 

Learn more about how you can improve your resilience in sales, and overcome rejection, with tips from the world’s top sales knowledge forum. Join the Hard Skill Exchange today to learn and grow with your peers in the sales landscape. 

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