If I was to be asked what advice I would give my younger self starting off in the world of sales, it would be to say “Get used to rejection and learn to embrace it”.
Now, this may seem a little harsh. And yes, I would be lying if I said rejection is easy to handle. However, we need to remember it’s normal to feel a bit despondent at times.
Nonetheless when we work in sales, we need to accept rejection is part of the job and we must never take “No” personally.
We can’t expect to win every sale. We may have customers who will buy from us; however, there will always be others who don’t need or want our product or service. Sometimes they may want it, but the timing is wrong or they can’t afford it right now. On other occasions, it might be the wrong fit or they just want to buy elsewhere.
Thomas Edison once wrote, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time”.
It’s important to adopt a mindset of confidence, tenacity and resilience. We need to remind ourselves that every “No” will bring us closer to a “Yes”. If we keep going that bit further every time, we will most certainly reap the rewards.
A lot of salespeople lack persistence and don’t follow up. When we take the time to follow up with customers, we stand out from the crowd. This helps us build rapport and trust with the customer, thereby increasing our chance of getting the sale.
It’s good to keep a tab on the numbers and be prepared to analyse lost sales. There are several things we can do; and so this is the advice I would give my younger self.
- The saying “practice makes perfect” really rings true when it comes to sales. Take time to research your customers, and learn about their business. Prepare clever questions so you can qualify the customer and identify what they really need as well as their personal preferences.
- Analyse failed calls and meetings, so you don’t repeat mistakes. Ask yourself if you build real rapport? Did you ask the right questions to make the recommendation? Were you too pushy or did you even ask for the order? Sometimes it’s about timing – were you too pushy or were you too late? Be reasonable with your analysis and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Watch out for the way you ask – are you inviting rejection? The way we ask for the order is vital too. If we ask the customer straight out if they are going ahead, we can come across as too pushy. And if we ask, using a closed question, we need to realise we are inviting the customer to say “No”.
- Ask for feedback from the customer. You may glean something useful to help you improve. It can also really impress customers as you are indirectly saying you value their opinion creating an opportunity to keep the door open for later. Furthermore, you might discover there was another reason you didn’t get the sale which had nothing to do with you; thereby helping to dissipate the rejection.
Remember there are so many reasons why we get rejected. So, just because someone didn’t buy right now doesn’t mean they won’t buy later. The main thing is to accept their response, smile, promise to keep in touch and wish them well.
And when it comes to your own feelings, acknowledge how you feel, dust yourself down, be positive and move on to the next customer.