7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How to Handle Rejection in Sales

In sales, you’re going to hear a lot of rejection. But the way you handle rejection in sales can make or break your success. Check out these tips.

Rhys Metler

Rejection in sales is an inevitability. Even the top-performing sales reps will hear no every once in a while, but they continue to sell because they’ve created sales rejection strategies. But how you handle that rejection can make or break your success. Brush it off and keep selling, and you’ll succeed. Let it fester and ruin your confidence, and you’ll fail.

You need to know a lot in sales—the latest best practices, trends, opportunities, tools, technologies—but knowing how to handle rejection in sales might be one of the most important things you can learn. Rejection is more powerful than you think and it can get you spiraling downwards.

When you’re hearing a steady stream of no after no, don’t get discouraged. Use these strategies for coping with rejection in sales instead.

Know Your Ratio

Because rejection is inevitable in sales, you can’t eliminate it, no matter how great of a sales professional you are. But what you can do to cushion the blow is to understand your sales ratio so you know how much rejection you should actually come to expect in your career. Estimate on average how many times you’ll close a deal compared to how many times you’ll try to make the sale. If you know that you will, on average, hear no 30 times before hearing yes, you might not take the rejection so personally—you’ll take it in stride, as part of the business.

Set Long-Term Goals

Reframing the way you think might help you cope with rejection in sales. Setting long-term goals that go beyond your business objectives, like getting the sale, can help you stay focused and push through challenging times. Maybe your goal is to buy a new car or a new TV—that’s likely not going to happen with just one sale, so that one rejection you just got shouldn’t be seen as that big of a deal. Look at the bigger picture and you’ll stay motivated in the face of rejection.

Create a Routine

When you’re hearing a lot of rejection, it’s easy to start procrastinating on those prospecting calls and emails just so you don’t have to hear no that day. The fear of rejection can be a powerful thing—one that keeps you from being productive. Set yourself up in a routine. Start making calls at 10am, every single day, until noon, for example. So no matter how you feel about making those calls, you’ll still do it.

Reach Out to Others

It’s easy to start blaming yourself and seeing yourself as a failure when you’re faced with so much rejection. But knowing that other people are in your boat can help you fend off this negative self-blaming. Talk to your coworkers and other sales people to talk about the times you’ve been rejected, so you know that you’re not alone. This normalizes what you’re going through.

Keep Track of Daily Achievements

Focusing on the achievements you did make, no matter how small, can help you recognize progress and give you a psychological boost. Even if you didn’t make a sale that day, you still made some accomplishments that you should acknowledge, like getting better at speaking on the phone without nervousness or hesitation or making someone on the other line of the phone laugh. When you focus on the positive instead of the negative, you won’t let rejection get you down.

Ask Why

You probably hear rejection and just thank the prospect for his time and hang up. But asking him why he said no to your proposal can help in one of two ways. One, you hear that the reason why has absolutely nothing to do with you—maybe it’s about budget or because they recently bought a similar product. Two, if it is something that you said that turned him off, you can make changes in order to improve your performance in the future.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.