This is the final post in our 4 part series.
Fear Number Four – Fear of Rejection
This is the Big Daddy, the one everybody talks about and the one that derails countless sales careers before they ever start. Though I am not a psychologist, I’ll venture to say we are all permanently saddled with a fear of rejection. It’s in our bones. It might comfort you to hear that some sales people I know who seem completely impervious to rejection are, in fact, more sensitive to it than the average person. So if we cannot eliminate the fear, what can we do to minimize it and not let it get in the way of our selling?
First, don’t kid yourself into thinking you can avoid feeling rejected when you are rejected. You will. But following this sage sales advice can make all the difference in the world: hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If you are prepared for being rejected, if you know it may be coming, you will feel it less deeply and for less time when it arrives.
Second, the worst is never as bad as we think it will be. Anxiety leads us to build things up in our minds far out of proportion to their actual significance. The more we fear rejection, the more nightmarish our visions of rejection become. A prospect who does not care for our offering is not likely to slice us to pieces with a machete. More likely, the prospect will say, “No thank you,” and everyone simply moves on.
Third, reflect deeply on the advice we have all heard: it’s not personal, it’s business. Even highly successful sales professionals have a hard time remembering that just because someone says “no” to your product, service, program, or idea, they are not saying “no” to you as a human being. And here lies the Catch-22. The more of ourselves we put into our selling, the more successful we become. However, the more of ourselves we put into selling, the more it hurts when we are rejected. There is no getting around it. But I can tell you this much. Having experienced rejection thousands of times, and having performed innumerable autopsies on failed sales efforts, I have learned that in very, very, few cases does the salesperson’s humanity, if you will, cause the failure. As a matter of fact, surprisingly few rejections are caused by weaknesses in the seller’s offering. More often than not, “no sales” occur because of indifference or issues completely unrelated to the salesperson or product.
Fourth, and most important, although we cannot eliminate feelings of rejection, we can learn what customers expect of us, sharpen our skills, and greatly reduce the number of times we experience rejection. Presumably, that is why you are reading this – to gain a fundamental understanding of how to approach prospects, uncover their needs, present your ideas, sell your ideas, and make rejection and all these other fears complete non-issues.
If these brief reflections are starting to put you more comfortable with the idea of being a sales person, you have taken the necessary first step. The most difficult part of sales – for that matter the most difficult part of any endeavor – is forming the proper attitude. And I say this not as a locker room pep talk, but because I’m trying to make a critical business point. The people to whom you will be selling are looking for one thing – value. Customers seek value in your price, value in your product, value in your service, and value in having a relationship with you. Customers see value when they see clarity and confidence.
Have you ever faced the fear of rejection in any professional situation? How did you overcome it? Please share your thoughts, solutions and ideas in the comments.
A big round of applause to Brad for so generously sharing these words of wisdom this week. Brad may include these posts in a book on selling, and you can say you saw it first here!
Brad is a sales and marketing consultant who lives near Chicago, Illinois. His company, Word Sell, Inc., provides strategic consulting, sales training and coaching, and business blog and other online marketing services. Brad is a prolific reader and writer who is masterful at communicating even complex subjects with warmth and humor.