Never take it personally

Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.Photo Basketball

Wouldn’t business and life in general be a lot easier if there were more people like you?

We all have a natural urge to be liked. Nobody is really comfortable being rejected. Yet the irony of success in B2B selling is you need to become comfortable about the concept of rejection.

Being rejected sounds so ugly. I’d prefer you to think of it more like “Family Feud. Pass or Play”.   

3 Reasons why this is so important to your success in business

  1. There will be a limited amount of business you can extract from existing clients.  There is only so much oil you can squeeze out of a rag, no matter how tightly you squeeze it.
  2. I guarantee you there are prospects on your territory who have a need for your products or services.  You can’t sell a secret.  Go out there and track them down.
  3. High Performers know the fact that, ultimately, selling becomes a numbers game and use the concept of rejection to their advantage.  Law of averages indicates that the more “No’s” you are receiving, the closer you should be to a “Yes”.

The best suggestion I could make about handling rejection (or people choosing to “Pass”) is:

“Get over it and never take it personally!”

There are any number of reasons why someone may choose to reject you or your company’s offerings:

  • They have other priorities at present
  • You remind them of someone they have had an unpleasant experience with
  • They have no current need or perceived need for your offering
  • Their values and beliefs are different to yours
  • They have had a bad experience with your company before
  • They feel guilty about making a previous commitment to you about something  and hope to avoid this coming up again in conversation
  • You personally do not match or connect with them

Accept the fact that we all reject others during most working days. This could be by failing to acknowledge or respond to an email, not returning telephone calls or ignoring someone on the street collecting donations. We play little games with ourselves to avoid feeling guilty about all of this (I’ll pretend I didn’t get the message; our server has been down, etc).

What do the high performers do?

Over the years I have noticed a pattern in the best B2B salespeople. They take more shots. The reason they do this is, without doubt, they have realised the link that exists between being rejected and achieving more new business.

Remember the popular kids in school? What distinguished them from the others is not the fact they were rejected less often, but how they chose to handle those rejections.     

As humans, we want to be liked. It’s natural. The business world is rapidly changing and, on any given day, you can personally communicate with hundreds of people.  The combination of email, Skype, SMS, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings allows for this.

Ironically, as families become less intact and society becomes more segmented, we are becoming less secure.

The growth of cities has seen the growth of loneliness. Years ago, people would have lived in smaller towns or villages and been part of a central unit where they felt they belonged. The brave new business world we are playing in now is not as friendly as the world a lot of us may have grown up in.

It took me a long time to fully understand how important it is in business to be comfortable with the concept of not everyone liking you. Without a doubt, it is one of the most powerful things that I have ever learned and, year in, year out, helps me to grow my business - perhaps more than any other concept or idea.

We all find it hard - very hard - to say “NO!  I don’t want to work with you”.  It’s so much easier to say:

  • “I’ll call you back at the end of the week”
  • “I was actually just about to call you”
  • “Could you resend it, so I could have another look?”
  • “Can we look at this in more detail after Easter?”
  • “He’s just stepped into a meeting; can I get him to call you back?”  
  • “Can you send me a proposal that I could have a look at?” (This is a classic B2B stalling technique.  The chances are high it may never be read!)    

When you hear all of this nonsense, the majority of the time you are being rejected. Don’t take it personally. Call someone else; they may be interested in what you have to offer.

How do I get better at dealing with rejection?

  • Never take it personally!
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and recognise it is part of the B2B selling process
  • Record the number of people who say “NO” to you each month. If you are not receiving enough “No’s”, you are not meeting with enough prospects or avoiding asking the hard questions. (This will be restricting the growth of your territory / business)
  • Ask people if they see some value in doing business with you. Then ask them how to best organise for this to happen.  

If you are not experiencing any rejection in your search for more business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I avoiding calling people I don’t know?
  • Am I really just a classic comfort zone operator?
  • Do I hear “NO” often enough from my prospects?
  • Have I designed a business where I don’t need to work outside my comfort zone?

Take more shots and never take it personally when people choose to ignore your offerings and watch your business and personal life grow. 

 "100% of short putts never go in the hole”

Posted in Sales; Tagged Sales, Sales Management; Posted by Steve Herzberg

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