New Business Lead Generation: How to Handle Rejection

Attitude, self confidence and practice are key
by Todd Knutson

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You can usually tell if someone is a natural sales or proactive new business person by the way they handle rejection. If they take it personally and procrastinate before picking up the phone to make their next call, they're unlikely to find success (or new business). On the other hand, if they shrug it off, knowing that “it’s not if a prospect is going to buy, but when”, they are more likely to figure out how to be successful.

Sheryl Tuttle wrote a post the other day for New Business Pipeline, that gets to the heart of how to handle rejection. I've included all nine of her suggestions with a few minor edits; the bold and italics are mine and added for emphasis.

  1. Be polite and thank the prospect for their time. Never get angry at a prospect. While it is unlikely they will be a customer now, nobody has a crystal ball. You could change jobs, they could change jobs, and your paths could cross again. Never burn bridges.
  2. Remember you are not alone. Everyone in sales experiences rejection all the time.
  3. Don’t take it personally. The prospect isn’t rejecting you - it’s what you're offering or proposing. You’re still just fine!
  4. For every “no” you hear, you are that much closer to the next “yes.”
  5. Get over it – and quickly! Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and make your next call.
  6. Focus on your overall goals and don’t dwell on the individual rejection.
  7. Keep a positive attitude and a smile in your voice.
  8. Look at the rejection as an opportunity to improve yourself. What caused the prospect to decline interest? Would more open-ended questions have better engaged them?
  9. Don’t give up. Ever.

I ran into a sales guy the other day. He had a big smile on his face and I assume he'd just closed a deal. In fact, it was the opposite. He said he'd just been rejected on two back-to-back calls. He was laughing because he knew that what he was offering was perfect for them, they just didn't realize it yet. He was then off to make more calls, because he knew his luck was about to change.

Now that's the attitude of someone whose calling is generating new business!

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