Perhaps no other profession is as closely associated with the term “rejection” as a career in sales. You might say that rejection is as natural to a salesperson as trail dust is to a chuck wagon cook — it comes with the territory. In fact, the first two orders many new sales reps receive are “Get out and stay out!”

The sales profession can be financially and personally rewarding for those tough-minded salespeople who have developed the capacity to keep rejection in perspective. How well do you take rejection? Your ability to persevere in the face of rejection is a key factor in determining your income potential and career longevity. Obviously, you can never totally eliminate rejection from the sales game, but you can reduce its frequency and minimize its psychological and financial impact.

The best antidote for the sting of rejection is to prospect with greater intensity and to qualify your clients more effectively. Prospecting for new business is the most critical and, for the majority of salespeople, the most challenging and stressful aspect of their profession. Successful sales reps are proactive and recognize the importance of prospecting on a daily basis. When you don’t have enough prospects, the tendency is to shoot yourself in the foot by downplaying the needs analysis and qualification process. That’s like putting lipstick on a pig: It’s a waste of time and it irritates the pig. By having more prospects to work with, you dilute the impact of any single “no sale” and are far more likely to qualify your prospects realistically. Improper qualification is in direct relationship to increased rejection, and creates a self-imposed vicious cycle.

At the end of the day, selling, like baseball, is a game of statistics. A baseball player gets paid according to the number of times he hits the ball, not the number of times he strikes out. Keep score of your sales effectiveness so that you can improve your batting average. When a salesperson strikes out, he or she usually points fingers at mitigating circumstances, such as a bad economy or a lower-priced competitor, when in reality, it could just be them. It’s appropriate to take rejection personally if you can learn from the experience and benefit from the feedback.

Top producers look at rejection merely as a whetstone allowing them to hone their presentation abilities and sharpen their people skills. So, the next time a prospect says no, just remember that you can profit from the experience and that “some will, some won’t, so what!”

John Boe presents motivational and sales-oriented seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. Responses and questions can be sent to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.