In the 2008 Olympics, Michael Phelps won the Gold Medal in the Men’s 100M butterfly beating out Milorad Cavic by a mere .01 second. Literally, in the 1/30th time it takes to blink, Phelps’s dreams were realized and Cavic’s dreams were dashed.
Over the course of a salesperson’s lifetime, it’s inevitable that you will face this same struggle. You will be told “no,” be rebuffed, and even be harshly rejected due to the difference between you and your competitor, over what may seem to be a minor or even trivial difference.
The difference is that in the example above, Cavic at least won the silver medal and has something to place on his mantle for future generations of Cavic family members to view, awe, and admire.
In your struggle to win sales, when you earn second place, you get nothing … nada … the big goose egg … And it’s possible that once that client is locked up with your competing vendor, they may never relinquish that relationship, and that relationship may never come up for bid again.
So, how do you avoid this harsh reality and always finish first? The truth is you can’t.
It’s time to build what our colleague, Kendall Colman, calls your “rejection muscle” because rejection is going to happen. In fact, in the sales world, you will likely find that you will be told “no” way more often than not. Even if you have a relatively high closing ratio of 20 to 30 percent, this means that you are being told “no” 70 to 80 percent of the time.
Now that you are comfortable with the fact that you are going to be told “no,” it’s time to consider some ways to handle this rejection:
1. Understand that “no” is not negative, it’s only feedback:
Life is neutral. The only one who is placing a label on this event is you.
2. Labels are sticky:
Once a rejection occurs, it’s easy to move the label from the event to then labeling ourselves by saying: “I suck … I am a terrible sales person … I am such a loser… Why would anyone buy from me?”
Breathe and stop with the labels. Instead, interrupt that thinking with: “It’s just experience.”
3. Reflection is not just a three-syllable word:
Most sales people make the same mistakes over and over again because they never ask themselves or their customers what they could have done differently. Prospects when asked, many times, will be incredibly open with you about the reasons why they chose a competitor.