5 Ways to Never Fear Rejection in Sales

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Never Fear Rejection in Sales Tip #1: They can't physically hurt you.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to fearing rejection in sales is that your prospects can’t actually hurt you physically. They can’t hit you. They can’t attack you. Most of the time, they’re just a voice on the phone (or words in an email, or a face on a video call). And even if you’re face-to-face with prospects, they aren’t going to physically hurt you because they don’t like what you have to say.

So why do so many salespeople have such intense fear of making their prospects angry or upset?

While it’s natural to genuinely feel stress around the idea of having someone dislike you, there’s never any risk of physical harm when selling. You’re not in a football or rugby game where you can actually get physically hurt if you do something wrong.

In the game of sales, the risk is only that you’ll make a prospect a little cranky, and they’ll hang up on you. Maybe they’ll tell you that they’re annoyed before they do so. But otherwise, the risks are very, very low. 

Tip #2: Understand the evolutionary meaning of rejection. 

Thousands of years ago, rejection meant death. But now, in today’s world, the consequences of rejection don’t align with our evolutionary fear. In other words, even though being rejected by a stranger no longer puts us in mortal peril, our evolutionary programming hasn’t changed to catch up to the realities of modern-day humanity. 

And so, we live in fear of crossing lines, upsetting others, and saying the wrong thing. Our fear is intense, because it’s rooted in our evolutionary imperative to survive. But sales is not a fight to the death. We’re no longer in fear for our lives when we make someone feel cranky.

It’s critical that you understand this evolutionary meaning of rejection, so you can keep your fear of rejection in sales in perspective when you start to worry constantly about ticking off your prospects. No one is going to kill you for trespassing if you make an unsolicited phone call. All they can possibly do is hang up on you and make you feel a little embarrassed. So what?

Tip #3: Know the math on “no’s” in sales.

To effectively overcome your fear of rejection in sales, it’s key that you actually know the math on the “no's” that you’re likely to receive when selling. Let’s say you’re making cold dials to prospects. A strong cold dialer has a ratio of somewhere between 100–150 dials to one closed appointment. That’s a lot of unsuccessful dials. That’s a lot of “no’s” to get to one “yes”—and that’s perfectly normal.

If your fear of rejection in sales is more based around hearing “no” after having taken the prospect through your sales process, then you should know the math around those “no’s” too. Let’s say that you figure out that you end up closing 25% of all the discovery calls you complete with a prospect. Now you know that when you hear a “no” at the end of a discovery call, you’re that much closer to hearing a “yes.”

Tip #4: Know your “why.”

Why do you sell? Understanding why you’re a salesperson in the first place is crucial to ending your fear of rejection in sales. You could be working in a million other industries or job categories besides sales. You could be in operations, finance, or customer service, but you're not. You’re in sales. And sales can be tough sometimes.

That’s why understanding your “why” is so important. Chances are that you’re in sales because it’s a path for you to make a lot more money than you could in other jobs. 

Tip #5: Celebrate big rejections.

This might seem counter-intuitive. But if you’ve been selling for long enough, then you know what it’s like to get a really big rejection in sales: the prospect gets angry, they blow up, they hang up the phone in anger, or they just get really cranky and frustrated with you. I’m encouraging you to celebrate these scenarios. That’s what we do in my own organization. When a prospect gives one of us a big rejection, we chat about it in our Slack group and in our sales meetings.

We don’t hide big rejections from each other at my organization; rather, we celebrate them by giving all the details and making light of the situation. Why? Because celebrating big rejections helps to normalize rejection in sales, while reinforcing the idea that getting rejected is all part of the game. It’s no big deal. In fact, it can be a great source of learning, improvement, and even laughter and good-natured fun among our colleagues. When we celebrate those moments of rejection, we suddenly realize, "You know what, it's not that bad."

Creators and Guests

Marc Wayshak
Marc Wayshak
Founder of Sales Insight Labs | Host of Data Driven Selling Podcast | Sales Data Geek
Cameron Stack
Cameron Stack
Producer | Partner at Podcast Sins Production and Strategy Firm
5 Ways to Never Fear Rejection in Sales
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