Sales Rejection & Self-Esteem

Written By:

Lynn Whitbeck

Amanda Whitbeck

Self-esteem reflects a person’s attitude towards themselves. This evaluation may come from career success, relationships, lifestyle, appearance – or a combination thereof. We tend to feel good about ourselves when we achieve certain goals, and typically appreciate acknowledgement of others when we reach milestones.

When you work in sales, you may base your success on how many sales you make and new clients you bring in. The more clients choose your product or service, the better you feel you are performing at your job. The higher your sales volume, the more acknowledgement you might receive from management.

In reality, not all sales efforts will result in a sale. Many prospects will say no. The no can be based on several conditions both within your control and outside of your control. The timing may be off, the client’s budgets may have been cut back, a competitor may have a leg up. One sure thing to keep in mind: Salespeople will experience rejection on a regular basis. It is your responsibility to find ways to handle your reaction to it.

Rejections Aren’t About You…

You may interact with dozens of people each day, growing relationships and inching closer to the sale. But no matter how talented you are or how great the product or service is, a percentage of your clients will ultimately decline to move forward. It can hurt to be rejected and it is easy to take those sales rejections personally. But always remember: Rejections aren’t about you.

Frequently, the client might be saying no for now. It might be the wrong time, but perhaps a few months or years down the line, they’ll re-engage. Sometimes the product or service simply isn’t the right option for a client. That’s not your fault. Your product or service won’t be right for everyone, but keep in mind that you’ll find the right client soon enough.

Sometimes it is a matter of how you present the product or service. You may need to rework your pitch, your communication style, or subtle mannerisms. Again, this isn’t about you, but it is about your presentation style. Good salespeople are constantly reworking their interpersonal skills and presentations, interpreting positive feedback from clients and colleagues.

…But They Can Still Hurt Your Self-Esteem

Even though you factually know that the rejection isn’t about you, it can still stir up self-doubt. For many of us, self-esteem is emotionally linked to performance, recognition, and success at work. When you hear “no, no, no” all day, it can grate on your self-esteem and begin to erode your confidence.

In any career, but in sales particularly, you need to remember not to take things personally. Don’t take rejection to heart. When you hear yet another no, just remind yourself of all your great attributes and successes. Hold onto your confidence, and remember that you are more than your job or this sale.

Shake it Off

Easier said than done! Do try to shake off the sting of rejection. It may have come from a client you’ve been working for months or even years; it may have come at the end of the week, just in time to impact your weekend.

Take a step back and recognize that this isn’t a reflection of you. Keep in mind that these are business decisions, not personal ones. You are a representative of your company and its product or service, while your clients are representing their companies. This is business.

Take a moment to breathe and find some distance from the situation. Perhaps you need to take time to listen to some music, take a walk, or direct your attention to a different task. Better yet, pick up the phone and call another prospect or client to set up your next appointment.

It’s natural to tie your self-esteem with your work performance. Having a high yes rate can make you feel great, but rejections can be a blow to your ego. When this happens, focus on the positive and remember that you are a competent, powerful person who can easily take on the next opportunity. By learning to manage rejections, your self-esteem and long-term success can soar.

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