November 10, 2022

Bouncing back from rejection: Three things to remember

4 min read

Nobody likes rejection. Whether it’s rejection from an interview, in your private life, or on a sales call, that resounding no is not a fun experience. However, rejection in sales is a fact of life. It doesn’t matter how good your product, or your pitch is, not everyone you phone is going to want to know about it. Even if your product is the exact thing they need to save money, save time, increase efficiencies, or grow their revenue, sometimes it’s just the wrong time.

It’s not personal

It may feel it, but this rejection really isn’t about you. What’s important now is to learn from this rejection and use it as an opportunity to tighten up, improve, and move forward with more experience under your belt.  

Even if your close rate is lower than you’d like (perhaps lower than your colleagues’), rejection isn’t a sign that you’re no good. Rather, view this as a chance to get some more training and develop your skills. At this point, it’s also worth evaluating each ‘no’ you’re getting. Running a ‘post-mortem’ of each rejection can help you find where you’re going wrong. If you’re in any doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your prospect why. This knowledge can really help you hone your pitch and style so that next time it’s a resounding yes.

No doesn’t mean never

Contrary to what you might have been told as a child, sometimes no just means ‘not now’, or ‘maybe, but I have concerns’. Objections can be overcome, so you’ll need to find out what is driving the no. Use follow up questions with your prospect to get to the bottom of the issue. Perhaps they already have a similar solution, maybe they can’t get sign-off from finance, or perhaps they just don’t think they need your solution yet; each can be a valid ‘not right now’ with the scope for turnaround.  

By paying attention to the details surrounding the no, you can potentially help your prospect realise a need or priority they didn’t know they had. At the very least, even if your sale can’t be resurrected there and then, you can keep the door open for future conversations. It’s okay to acknowledge that now is not the best time for your prospect, but don’t be afraid to touch base with them again in a few months’ time. A lot can change in those few months, be it your prospect’s budget, demand, or time; any one of these can work in your favour next time if you act with professionalism and understanding.  

It’s also worth remembering that one person’s no doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a no from the company. Just because your solution isn’t right or doesn’t resolve the pain points of the one person you’re talking to, doesn’t mean it won’t be right for another department in their organisation. Don’t be afraid to ask the prospect for a referral; your prospect may well recognise that while this isn’t the solution for them, it could well be what their colleague in another team or office is looking for. Referrals tend to have a higher close rate too, so this information can often be lucrative.

Focus on the positives

Although a week full of rejection is enough to get anyone down, it’s important to focus on the deals you have made too. A no today, might not be a no next quarter, and that can offer an opportunity for the future, but what’s important is speaking to as many ICPs now as possible. Treating each deal as an equal opportunity will help you avoid bias and preconceived ideas you have about the likelihood of each prospect.  

Temptation can be to go after the ‘big fish’, but they’re not always the answer you’re looking for. It’s true that you must speculate to accumulate, so don’t be afraid to ignore the deal size in favour of finding the best prospects, big or small, that you can help the most. Ten small deals that are a sure thing will end up improving your closing rate and can amount to as much (if not more) than that one risky giant you’ve been chasing. Bigger deals tend to have more competition, and therefore, often a low close rate, so keep your pipeline full and you can work these smaller deals simultaneously.

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