There are two kinds of rejection in sales. The first is the most common and straightforward and, in a lot ways, the easiest to overcome. You pitch the prospect and the prospect flatly tells you no, not interested, have a good life, good-bye. These types of calls are a major part of the sales game. If you can’t handle those rapid-fire rejections and can’t shake off that open mouth, what-just-happened? look, then it’s time for a new profession.
The second kind of rejection, the one that’s difficult to shake off and sits heavily in the psyche, is the lost deal. You spend weeks and months trying to close the prospect only to be turned down. It’s a heartbreaker and it can leave you with an emptiness as big as … well, as big as the deal size.
There are those of you out there who can shake off this type of rejection. You simply move on. You do not consider rejection anymore than you consider the air you breathe. This subject isn’t for you. You’re free to pick up the phone and call anywhere in the country. Instead, this is for the impulsive, impatient, go-getter salesperson that cannot stand dealing with gray areas and long, drawn out negotiations. This is directed to those of you who “snap” at the prospect, who say things you later regret. These actions lead to burnt bridges, a bad reputation (as seen from both prospect and management) and lost dials.
Vince Lombardi once said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” Nobody wants to be a loser, but you don’t want to be a sore loser either—at least in public, or in the presence of the prospect (in person or over the phone).
How do you deal with devastating loses, the big deal that blows up in your face? Well, first you have to know what kind of “loser” you are. (I have loser in quotes because even winners lose some time, and often they lose big.) You certainly don’t want to be a great loser. Great losers simply don’t care. They would fall under Leo Durocher’s line, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you an idiot.” But bad losers, especially those who act up in public, are not helping themselves.
Most “bad” losers just need to understand themselves a little more and have to commit to changing their ways. They do not need to attend anger management classes or visit Dr. Drew. They only need to address their bad loser behavior.
There are various ways to calm yourself and keep from “snapping” at an “idiot” prospect. You can count to three (or ten!) before you speak next. You can kindly excuse yourself and take a walk around the building—do a couple of laps if need be. You can go to some “happy place” where birds chirp and waves crash and the sun warms your body. (Personally, I can’t stand the happy place. My wife and I tried to use the happy place when she was delivering our daughter. We didn’t go anywhere happy.)
Just like developing your pitch and post-pitch dialogue, you also need to work on the “loser” in you. The better you know yourself and understand what it takes to remain calm and stay focused, the less deals you’ll lose.
Show me a smart loser and I’ll show you a winner.