The world of selling requires resilience. Being ‘sales ready’ and having the right skills is one thing but you also need the confidence to put what you know into practice. Often the fear of rejection can hold salespeople back from doing their best work.

The term ‘no’ isn’t necessarily a rejection. A customer who says no to your service or product offering or a client who doesn’t agree with your ideas is common in the business world and although being told ‘no’ is not music to our ears it doesn’t need to squash our confidence. The ‘no’ you hear is not necessarily a reflection of your work or effort and shouldn’t impact on your confidence.

Objections from clients and customers occur for many reasons. It could be budget, loyalty to your competition, a lack of understanding about how you can fulfill their needs, etc. Of course, as a salesperson, our job is to find out as much about the customer as possible so a ‘no’ shouldn’t mean that we have missed the mark with our pitch.

Being told ‘no’ is part of the selling experience. If you’ve genuinely listened to your client or customer and offered them a product, service or solution to meet their needs and they’ve still declined, then you must accept this and not take it personally.

There will always be times when a rejection feels more personal than others and this is what sales people need to overcome. These are rejections that feel like more of an attack on who you are as a person, rather than someone just simply declining what you are selling.

Some people criticise what you’re selling them and make you feel stupid for even trying. Don’t take this personally. Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, and sometimes people express themselves more aggressively than others. Take their comments as ‘constructive criticism’. Thank your customer or client for pointing out the weaknesses in your pitch and ask them how you could have improved. Don’t take their feedback verbatim. Analyse it and assess what points may hold truth and what to ignore. Giving people the opportunity to talk is paramount to successful communication, even if it’s just to give them a chance to vent. They’ll feel better for it and appreciate the opportunity.

If you feel rejected because of your personality, brush off the criticism and move on. We’re all human and as long as you can say you have acted professionally then the encounter just wasn’t the right fit. We’re not all cut from the same cloth. We will work better with some people over others. If a small group of people don’t like you then there will be many others that will.

Although selling is a personable role, it’s still a business function and shouldn’t be taken personally. There will always be someone who will say ‘no’ but rather than let this affect your confidence, take it as a learning experience. Yet another situation that makes you even more emotionally and skillfully prepared to be a better salesperson.

Sue Barrett
BY Sue Barrett ON 25 October 2011
Sue Barrett is one of the leading female voices commenting on sales today. An experienced business speaker and adviser, facilitator, sales coach, training provider and entrepreneur and founder of Barrett Consulting, which provides sales assessments, sales consulting, sales coaching and sales training programs.

Visit Barrett Consulting's website,
Facebook page, or follow @SueBarrett on Twitter.