Rejection: Does Selling Cause More Anxiety Than Dating?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 06:07 AM

rejection2

Do you remember dating?  Back in the day, when you couldn't hide behind a text or an email, the three most common questions that teenagers would ask their friends were, "What if she says 'no'?", "What if he doesn't call?" and "What if she doesn't call back?"  

When those teenagers entered sales, I can assure you that no prospect ever wondered, "What if he doesn't call?"  But some salespeople did continue to remain anxious over, "What if he/she says 'no'?" and "What if he/she doesn't call back?"  That was classic fear of rejection.  While fear of rejection remained a big part of selling, and prevented some salespeople from making calls, the bigger problem was with the actual recovery from rejection.  Fear was only problematic for some, and only at the top of the funnel - when making cold calls.  Recovery from rejection affects a much larger part of the sales population and occurs later in the sales process.  Sure, a prospect on the receiving end of a cold call could hang up or say, "Not interested" in rejecting the caller.  But a "No" can just as easily occur much later, well after a salesperson has become emotionally invested in an opportunity.  The later the "No", the greater the rejection.  Rejection is as big a part of selling as closing, but we celebrate after closing and mourn after rejection.  The real problem for those affected by rejection is the amount of time it takes to mourn the loss and recover.  Some salespeople don't return to normal for days and weeks after being rejected!  Objective Management Group's (OMG) statistics show that 72% of all salespeople have difficulty recovering from rejection!

Our baseball playing 12-year old son has been on both ends of the celebrate/mourn outcome in the past three years.  In 2012, his 9-year-old and under (9U) All-Star team lost in the semi-finals and he cried for 2 days.  Last year, his 10U team won the championship and he celebrated for a night.  This year, his 11U team lost in the championship game and he was sad for a couple of hours.  Two lessons emerge from this.  The celebrating never lasts as long as the mourning; and the mourning time decreases with repetition.

Today, the abundance of technology and its place in selling has allowed fear of rejection to become much like it was in the golden days of dating.  Salespeople now wonder to themselves, "Will they reply to my email?"  Will they text me back?"  "Will they accept my LinkedIn invitation?"  "Will anyone retweet my tweet?"  "Will they like me on Facebook?"   

Let's call it Neorejection.  

Less control, more wondering.  To some, it's paralyzing.  Depressing.  I read somewhere that the more time people spend on Facebook (and I assume it would be the same for businesspeople on LinkedIn), the more depressed they become as they try to keep up, measure up and feed their follower-deprived egos.

Technology has certainly provided us with the capability to reach many more people in much less time than in the days when cold-calling was our only option.  But, technology giveth and technology taketh away.  The more emails, texts, InMails, Invites, tweets and messages, the greater the opportunities for neorejection to have a negative impact.

If I was one to be bothered by this, and I'm not, last week would have been a good example.  I use Tout to get a single email to many people. Tout allows me to organize email templates and groups.  For example, my application of Tout has the following groups:

  • Everyone I Know
  • Active clients
  • Inactive clients
  • OMG Partners
  • Strategic Partners
  • Friends
  • License Subscribers
  • Quarterly Winners
  • Employees
  • Webinar Attendees
  • Blog Subscribers
  • Weekly Update Group
  • Potential Clients
  • Baseball Update Group

I sent an email to one of those groups and then, an hour later, when I reviewed the live feed to see who had opened, read, and clicked through to the link, it was obvious to me that my email message must have sucked.  

That's the difference.  A salesperson who is prone to neorejection would have been upset that people didn't get back to her.  I blamed myself for failing to write a more engaging note.

It's difficult to get salespeople who suffer from fear of rejection, neorejection, or recovering from rejection, to overcome it.  Sales Managers can provide affirmations, send salespeople to therapy, partner them up with someone else, or replace them.  I have an easier solution.  It's called SalesMind, a CD that uses self-hypnosis to overcome 10 of the biggest selling challenges around.  Email me if you would like to get a copy.

Image Copyright: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales rejection, overcoming rejection, salesmind, fear of rejection, Tout

The Unusual Case of Arturo - How He Sabotaged His Own Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 07:07 AM

ArturoOne of my clients owns a Mexican company which provides phone, video conferencing and surveillance equipment to integrators and end-users.  During the height of the violence in Mexico, Arturo was kidnapped and held, bound and gagged, at gunpoint.  He was released - one of the few, fortunate survivors - but the emotional scars ran deep.  It took months for him to recover from the post-traumatic stress and return to work - selling again - and I have been coaching him for the past few months.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for Arturo and the courage that he has demonstrated to once again face the world.

During our last few conversations, he has had a huge backlog of follow-up calls to make - as many as 150 at one point - on known opportunities.  We worked on time management, scheduling a specific date and time with a prospect for the follow-up call, identifying the strongest opportunties and not wasting time on the weaker opportunities, being more effective at qualifying, blocking out time in his calendar to make follow-up calls, etc.  In the end, the list of opportunities that required follow-up continued to grow.

When I learned that he still hadn't rectified the problem I asked for an example of a follow-up call which he needed to make, but didn't.  I was amazed at what I heard.  

He had a fairly large opportunity scheduled - in his calendar as I had suggested - for follow-up.  He didn't make the call and of course, the prospect didn't call him either.  Interestingly, Arturo was making all of his 1st calls without any problem; however, once he developed a relationship and created an opportunity, he was developing call anxiety before the follow-up call.  Instead of fearing rejection while doing the hard work - making 1st calls - he was struggling with being rejected at the end of the sales cycle, causing him to avoid the calls all together.

Arturo is not the only person with this issue.  For months, Arturo has been sabotaging his closing efforts and for the first time, finally understands why his failure to follow-up has been occurring.

Solving the problem was actually quite easy.  I explained to Arturo that his prospects were wondering, "If he doesn't follow up when he is trying to get the business, what kind of follow-up will I get after he has the business?  He doesn't appear to care very much or be very reliable, so I don't think I will buy from him."

Arturo is a proud man and when he understood the implications, the embarassment of the consequences was much greater than the discomfort from the fear of rejection.  I told him to make a sign that says, "Choose Success over Discomfort."  The fear won't soon disappear, but he will take action in spite of it.

Congratulations Arturo - I expect your sales to quadruple!

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales personality, increase sales, overcoming rejection, follow-up calls, sales case history

The Longest Sales Cycle Ever - How They Closed the Deal

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 02, 2011 @ 23:05 PM

$25 MillionToday I heard a true story about one of the longest sales cycles ever.  This particular team attempted to reach their target but couldn't get through to the decision maker.  Rejected, they didn't give up,  and they didn't take 'no' for an answer either.  They stayed with it in the face of failure and adversity.  As a matter of fact, this committed team did whatever they had to in order to connect with their targeted decision maker. Finally, they identified a center of inluence who could connect them with their target.  When they finally reached the decision maker they closed him on the first call.  That's right, after all that time, their killer instinct surfaced, they took advantage of their short window of opportunity, and executed a one-call close. Over and done. A $25 million opportunity!  Yes, they finally killed Osama Bin Laden.

If only your salespeople had that kind of commitment and staying power.  If only they were able to somehow get connected to their target prospects.  If only they could close the big ones on the first call.  It's OK to dream big.  It's OK to think about possibilities like this. It's OK to want your salespeople to do more, more quickly, more often, and with more success.  Until your desires become expectations, you won't do anything to change the behaviors that lead to results.

Speaking of "no's", I wrote an article about 4 years ago that was nominated for Article of the Month for May 2011.  There must have been a delayed reaction!  It was called "12 Reasons that People Say No". If you weren't reading my Blog four years ago or don't remember it, you can read that article here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, reaching decision makers, overcoming rejection, Sales Advice, one call close, killer instinct

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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