The Other Rejection - How Salespeople Struggle to Cope

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 13:05 PM


My colleague, Frank Belzer, just posted a terrific, thought-provoking article on Rejection.  Please read that first for the rest of my article to have the proper context.

Five years ago, Passive Rejection wouldn't have been an article topic because back then, it was rare to not get your repeated calls returned.  By contrast, today it's unusual when a prospect returns one of your first 5 voicemail messages!

Let's take a deeper look into Passive Rejection.  Frank mentioned a former colleague who handled Active Rejection just fine but didn't handle Passive Rejection in an acceptable way.  If Passive Rejection is akin to being ignored, then what is it about being ignored that causes the problem?

After reading Frank's article, I gave this some thought and identified the following 10 reactions to Passive Rejection:

  1. Fear - What if I never reach this person?
  2. Anger - How rude!
  3. Abandonment - They don't want me in their life...
  4. Hurt - How could they do this to me?
  5. No Respect - If they respected me, they would call me.
  6. Distrust - They haven't returned my calls, so I don't trust them.
  7. Approval - They don't love me!
  8. Self-Importance - I don't have time for this!
  9. Self-Image - I'm not very happy with myself right now.
  10. Revenge - They haven't returned my calls, so I won't call them.  Hmmph.
As you can see, the other rejection, Passive Rejection, is simply another trigger for salespeople to become emotionally involved, a hidden weakness which I touched on in yesterday's article about chain reactions.  So, when a salesperson experiences Passive Rejection, the severity of emotional involvement increases, as each of these reactions kick-in, until the salesperson has effectively been neutralized.  Emotional Paralysis would be an appropriate phrase to describe what happens at this point, where the salesperson is no longer able to function in the sales role until they have finally recovered.  OMG's long-standing finding of Difficulty Recovering from Rejection would come into play here.  Do you have salespeople who don't seem to have enough conversations and new meetings each day?  Do they claim to be doing the work?  Could they be suffering from Passive Rejection?
As it becomes more and more difficult to reach prospects whose priorities make it impossible to be reached, Passive Rejection and the resulting Emotional Involvement play larger roles among the many weaknesses that interfere with a salesperson's ability to perform.
Photo Credit - Fever Pitch on PhotoDune

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, frank belzer, sales rejection, sales emotions, objective management group

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine 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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