Randi Rotwein-Pivnick, M.A., LMFT
Fear of rejection is common amongst people in the sales field, whether it be a salesperson, a business development representative, or a professional appointment setter. No one likes to hear “NO”, and people in the sales field subject themselves to that possibility over and over again on a regular basis. “NO” can be a tough word for these people to hear, but it doesn’t have to be if you realize that rejection is simply an element of the sales process that is factored into the equation.
The difference between a successful salesperson and one that is not, is perhaps, somewhat influenced by their ability to not take the rejection (the word “NO”), personally. Much of handling rejection is all in your head. 10% of life is what happens to you and 90% is how you choose to look at it and what you choose to do with it.
Regardless of how good a salesperson you are, you’ll always receive some amount of rejection. Minimize the impact by developing effective approaches, and reduce the negative self-talk. Take rejection as feedback on what you did and not as a criticism on who you are. Personalizing the rejection experience will only intensify the negative impact. Instead, think of your ‘being’ separate from the “NO”, the rejection.
Although it is hard not to take rejection personally, usually rejection in sales just means that your product or service either was not what the prospect needed at that time or the prospect was simply not in the “ready” phase of the buying cycle. Expect the rejection to happen, you are in sales. But don’t take the rejection criticism on who you are as a person. Be aware of your negative self talk… your inner critic. Think of your “being” separate from the “NO” (rejection). Watch your self-talk, as some psychologists say that as much as 90%of self-talk is negative. Don’t let the internal chatter determine how you feel about yourself. Instead, use positive affirmations and make them in the present tense. Be certain to keep positive self-dialogue going, and be aware of any negative dialogue, which will only hinder your performance and impact your self-worth. Studies have shown that thinking negatively about an outcome will tend to direct your efforts towards worrying about failure rather than directing your thoughts towards making every effort to succeed. Most of us are aware from personal experience, that when we think negative thoughts, we end up in a negative situation. Additionally, studies have shown that our belief in whether we will succeed or fail influences how much effort we put into our actions. Our thoughts become actions and actions create results. Think negatively and most likely your results will be negative. Why not think positively? By doing so, you have a much better chance of succeeding.
Additionally, every time you get rejected, you learn something about yourself. Look at it more as a learning opportunity. Take time daily to write down your achievements, and focus on them to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind. Focus on your positive successes. Find something positive about each interaction.
Yes, people in the sales field are faced with the prospect of daily rejection, but when you have a positive view of yourself and are clear on your character, you will be more resilient to the “NOs” and not take things personally. Remember to focus on the positive, be aware of the daily dialogue of your inner critic, and never let someone else determine how you feel about yourself.