“You can’t discover new oceans, unless you have the courage to leave the shore.” Anonymous
Although I do not have the statistics to back it up, I would not be surprised if the number one reason people fail in sales is because of their fear of rejection. When you put yourself out there and people tell you “no” it feels like a personal rejection. So many people will avoid making sales calls, not so much because they are lazy or do not know what to say (which can certainly be a factor), but more so because there is a fear of how the other person will respond, or more pointedly, whether they will be rejected. But let’s face it, when you do not make the call, you almost certainly will not make the sale. While we all dream about that perfect social meeting, where you just happen to meet someone who just happens to find you interesting, asks for your business card and later refers you or calls you for business, in the real world that rarely, if ever, happens. The bottom line is if you want to develop a consistent flow of business, risking rejection during the sales process is a must. So what can be done to overcome the fear and feelings of rejection?
For starters, develop a message you are confident in. I have a friend who is the consummate salesman. He is so natural at it, sales seems almost effortless for him. It is not that he gets rejected less; it is just that he does not see it as rejection, so he is not hesitant to make sales call often, and by his shear number of calls, makes more sales. Watching him, I have come to realize that it is possible to imitate what he instinctively does, and do it deliberately for better results. We may never be as natural or comfortable as he is, but we can make it more comfortable and natural for ourselves. Before making a call, my friend thinks about all the reasons his prospect would benefit from the services he is offering. He thinks about the value of what he is selling and why it is distinctive from other competing services. He does not just do this to know what to say, he does this to build his own confidence and to insulate himself from that feeling of rejection. While many of us leave an unsuccessful sales call feeling like we have been personally rejected, he leaves it feeling like the other person either does not need his services or that they just did not get it. In short, his confidence in what he is selling insulates him from taking it personal.
In the same way, the less nimble salesman can deliberately copy what he does, i.e. pro-actively think about the value, benefits and distinction of what he is offering before making the sales call to boost his confidence in what he is selling and to minimize the debilitating effects from his fear of rejection. The prospect may not buy the services, but if he is confident about what he is selling, it will not feel as personal, so we will be less likely to avoid the sales call in the first place. And bonus, the boost of confidence will almost certainly improve the level of enthusiasm and energy in the sales presentation, thereby improving the presentation and chances of making the sale. So next time you find yourself in a position of having to make a sales call, do not just think of what you need to say about the services, think about why the other person will benefit from hearing what you have to say. You will give a better sales presentation and feel better about doing it.