If your sales career started more than a week ago, then it’s likely you've already experienced a prospect's rejection. And so has each member of your sales team. It might have been an unreturned call, a “no”, a hang up, or any other put-off. How deeply do you feel it? What impact does it have on your immediate effectiveness? How long does it take to recover? When are you back at your best with an easy, natural confidence? It's in these moments when you're most creative, insightful, powerful and effective, isn’t it? When you're in this confident state, you're not inside your head, but very much in the present, both thoughtful and cheerful. Wouldn’t it be great to have access to that feeling, anytime and all the time?
There's a rejection lesson to be learned from this year's presidential debates. Imagine for a moment that, instead of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the debates, they were you and Mitt Romney. And in the first debate, it was you who delivered Obama's performance (not the one which you know that you can do, but his). You know your stuff, of course. You’ve had years to prepare. You’re interviewing in front of 60 million people for a job which you already have and half of the interviewers already like you and have made up their minds to rehire you. You're simply off your game. That’s all. It apparently happens even to presidents.
The next morning, how would you have felt? You can’t just call your brother, sister nor mother to tell them it didn’t go well. They saw it. Everyone saw it. They watched your facial expressions even while the other guy was talking. There was no escape. And the other guy kicked butt. He was sharp. He was on top of his game hitting doubles and triples all night. Who’d want to sell against Mitt Romney? Like him or not, he’s pretty smooth.
What’s the result of that underwhelming performance? He’s now the leading candidate for the sale. And the professional pundits (or rather, influencers and judges from the sidelines) deride you to millions of people on TV talk shows. You’re washed up. You’re played out. You suck! Period.
Have any of your sales rejection experiences been bigger and tougher than that? Could you brush off that experience and return to that same audience again, as if it never happened? How did Obama do it? His own answer was that he’s not a big up and down person. He calmly thought about what went wrong and set out to do better the next time. He did it by not getting emotionally involved. He didn’t freak out. His rejection recovery was world-class.
Which of your sales rejections was that intense? Let’s look at the alternative. What would have happened if he woke up the next day and said to himself, “This guy’s good. He’s got my number. I’m not as good as I thought I was. I’m not as good as they thought I was.” If Obama’s performance in the following debate was as underwhelming as the first, we’d be in a lame duck period right now.
Obama simply moved past the rejection from the first debate, survived, thrived and proceeded to win the sale.
For salespeople, the severity of the rejection hurt is a factor. The speed of their recovery is critical. Negative self-talk will sabotage the desired outcome. Yet, we saw what happens when people don’t get caught up in the bad stuff nor get in their own way.
Is rejection a problem for you or anyone on your team? How do you get over it? How much selling time does it cost? Is it a possibility to immediately pick up the phone and make another call? Rejection is just one sales weakness among dozens which prevent salespeople from consistently achieving success. That inconsistency costs most companies millions of dollars in lost opportunities. A sales force evaluation can bring these issues to light.