Getting in the game: Removing and replacing the fear of rejection

About Carson Heady

Carson V. Heady is an American author and sales leader, best known for his 2010 sales/leadership book within a business conspiracy novel, "Birth of a Salesman."

Those moments prior to dialing, pulling that door or entering the board room are like stepping in the batter’s box or breaking the huddle.

You formulated a semblance of a strategy, thought (or over-thought!) and now you have to execute the play. But what if I whiff? What if the pass is intercepted? What if they say no?

I have found that rejection is a natural human reaction to changing status quo. Most people don’t like change, and most of the time your product or service is asking them to do just that, change for a perceived value. Overcoming this obstacle is purely a numbers game. By knowing exactly how many contacts, calls, demos, presentations, it takes to close a deal, you effectively establish a process. The numbers dehumanize rejection by making it all part of the end game. Celebrate the losses along with the wins, they are all part of the process. ~David Woodbury,  Venture Builder/Rev7.co
A fear of rejection can prevent us from playing the game effectively, if at all, spelling D-E-F-E-A-T from the start. We may be confident in our knowledge of the product or service we represent. We may have prior success or failure we’ve learned from. But, facts are facts: no one enjoys being told “no.”

So, how does one eradicate the trepidation surrounding rejection?

Overcoming “No”

1. Be Prepared.

The more ready you are to confidently present your product, service and yourself, the less likely you can be deterred from that path. Knowledge and the ability to delicately drive through the selling process are what lay the foundation for the successful sale. Preparation builds confidence because it’s one less thing to worry or think about. Arm yourself with as much as you can in the situation. Go in with your intended qualifying questions, plans for rebuttals and confidence to close.

2. Name the fear.

Recognize the fear and work to dismiss it. You have more control over it than you think. If you have a fear of rejection, acknowledge its presence and contemplate why it exists. Are you afraid of not selling because you fear repercussion? Do you feel unsure of yourself or your pitch? Similar to the “release the mechanism” scenes from the Kevin Costner baseball flick For Love of the Game, you hone in on your directive and drown out everything else. If you allow yourself to deviate from the game plan because of desperation or fear, you certainly will hear “no;” so it’s all the more reason to ensure you remain undeterred.

3. Focus on process.

The real “fear” you should have, if any, is that you leave out a crucial step or do not give customers a clear picture of why they need what you have. Replace the fear you have of being told “no” with a focus on simply sticking to steps. You cannot control what your contact will do, but you certainly can control what and how you deliver. When you leave the conversation, your goal is to have a signature or a clear-cut reason as to why the customer decided against buying with a specific plan to follow up or move on.

4. Learn from the rejection.

Customers may decide against buying for reasons completely out of your control. That said, what worked during your presentation? What did you say that you may want to omit next time? Are there ways to tweak your product offerings or strategy based on the reason for opting out? It is very possible to lose the business today only to regroup, retool and revisit with a better solution that your customer will choose to use.

5. No isn’t forever.

The customer who decides against change today may feel differently given some time or change of circumstances. Leave a solid, lasting impression: Stand apart from those simply trying to get a sale at any cost. Earn the relationship. Stay in touch. Offer to help in any way you can. Find a way to be valuable, even if it brings no immediate monetary gain. When they have a need you can fill, you’ll get the call.

Bottom line

Never even think about the “no.” Your focus should be to control what you can in the selling process. We spend too much time worrying about what never comes to fruition. You control truly learning your customer’s needs, formulating a plan to address those needs, and addressing any concerns. You won’t win them all, but if you leave each conversation knowing the specific reasons your customer did not purchase, you did your job and can learn, grow and get ready for the next “yes.”

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