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Pushing through to ‘yes’

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If you sell for a living, you have to learn to deal with rejection. It makes no difference what you sell, to whom you sell or how much experience you have, the fact is that you will hear “no” many more times than you hear “yes.” And how you handle hearing that word will dictate the level of success you can achieve. 

If you cold call, your rejection is immediate and can seem very personal. When you call complete strangers only to have them rudely hang up on you, the tendency is to confuse it with personal rejection. If you send direct mail letters which land directly in the trash, the rejection is the same—even if you’re not immediately aware of it.

How we handle rejection is the key to getting to “yes.” Our anticipation of a certain outcome can influence the actual outcome. If you approach a task with a defeatist attitude, there is a good chance you will fail. If you approach the same task with an attitude of success, there is a good chance you will succeed. Why?

1.    If we assume—or even suspect—we will fail, we won’t give our best effort. Why should we? We already know the outcome before we have even tried. We’re just wasting our time.

2.    Our prospect can read the defeatism in our voice and body language. Moreover, if we don’t believe in what we’re saying, how in the world can we expect our prospect to believe it?

Consequently, in order to be successful, we must be able to deal with the rejection we experience in a positive manner. We must find a way to eliminate the residual negative feelings we have from the rejection that seems to be all around us.

Advice for handling rejection generally centers on either understanding that each “no” gets us closer to a “yes” or that, because the prospect does not know us as individuals, the rejection is not of us but of the offer we have made. Each of these is true, but for many of us, neither gives us much relief.

How can we create a method to give our brains the positivity it needs? One method is to set aside tasks during the day that you know for certain will be successful. Have a contract to sign with a new client? Try to schedule it later in the day, after you’ve done your cold calling for the day, and end the day on a positive note. Have a couple of very strong referrals to call? Again, make these calls after you have made your more-difficult cold calls.

Certainly, if you happen to be one of the lucky few who can simply ignore rejection, I envy you. For the vast majority of us salespeople, though, a process which allows us to reset our attitudes after repeatedly hearing “no” is the best way to keep plugging along until we hear “yes.”

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Paul McCord is a best-selling author, speaker and leading authority on lead generation. He has more than 20 years’ experience coaching and mentoring salespeople. For more information, go to


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