Dealing with Rejection in Sales

by Staffer Team
Sales rejection

The following is a transcription from Episode 6 of HireKeep’s YouTube series #PaulTalk. In this series, HireKeep’s founder and CEO, Paul Murskov, answers questions about sales, entrepreneurship, and the current state of the recruiting industry. Today’s topic: Dealing with Rejection as a Salesperson.

Watch the full video here:

Dealing with rejection as a salesperson, as an entrepreneur, as a young CEO, as pretty much anyone, is fucking hard. This subject is something I talk about a lot with my team because there are so many emotions that start to build up when you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, but you keep getting nothing but rejection.

Salespeople are extremely passionate. They are very type A and quick to move, but when they hit a wall they tend to crumble and fall apart. That was my case, especially when I was first starting out.

 The First Rejection

I still remember my first ever sales call. I called an auto repair shop trying to sell them advertising. I had just gotten out of sales training and was really excited. I introduced myself and asked if he had five minutes to talk about how we can generate more leads or something stupid like that, that I would never say now. The guy on the other line said “sounds like a sales call,” and slammed the phone so freaking hard that it destroyed me from inside. I sat there at my desk, staring at my computer screen and questioning every life decision that I’ve ever made. After about an hour I regained my composure and continued on.

It’s Mechanical

I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but I kept going, and as I got further and further in the sales game it became more evident that sales and rejection is not about emotion. It’s mechanical. It’s a process. So if you’re on a call, and you botch your pitch and get rejected, you can’t get down on yourself. You have to take the emotion out of it so that you can learn from it and identify how to improve your pitch. That’s one of the hardest things to do. Here’s how I do it:

Take Ownership of the Failure

I tell myself “Ok, this is where I fucked up.” Too many people get rejected and then find any excuse they can for why they couldn’t close the deal. “These leads are terrible,” “that guy was an asshole,” “I caught her at a bad time,” etc. If you don’t take ownership for the fuck up, then you can’t recognize where you failed and recognize the opportunity to improve your pitch, or your outreach, or your proposal. Very rarely is your entire approach wrong. There’s usually one or two little pieces that need to be tweaked and you would have closed the sale. It’s like one dead bulb in a string of Christmas lights stopping the entire string from lighting up. By objectively analyzing your sales process after you fail, you can go down the string of lights one by one and identify the bulb that prevented the rest of your bulbs from working. 

When the end of the month approaches, and you’re a salesperson that needs to hit quota or a CEO struggling to keep the lights on, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the stress. But you have to push all those thoughts out of your mind before you get on the phone. Otherwise, the stress is going to affect your voice, it’s going to make you sound desperate, and you won’t have any confidence when you’re on the call. You need to take all the emotion out of selling and just think of yourself as a machine. Just keep getting on the phone and using every phone call as an opportunity to get better. Those “no”’s will start turning into “yes”’s. Trust me. 

If you want to hear more of my ideas on entrepreneurship, sales advice, and leadership check out my YouTube series #PaulTalk. If you have any topics or questions for me to answer shoot me a message on Linkedin with the subject “#PaulTalk” or tweet @hirekeep using #PaulTalk.

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