Dealing with rejection in Sales


Robert Samuels – JS3 Recruitment (

Sales rejection isn’t a case of if, but when. It’s simply a natural part of working in sales. There’d be something wrong with the world if every time you interrupted someone’s day to tell them about your latest, greatest offer, a few didn’t turn around and say no. What’s important however, is how you handle it.

No matter how good your product or service is, and how well your pitch it to a prospect, you will still inevitably face rejection time and time again. You can either feel sorry for yourself, or you can deal with it and still have a great and productive day.

In this week’s blog post we look at how to do the latter and these three tips may help you if the fear of rejection is preventing you from succeeding:

Don’t take things too personally

When you approach someone, you open yourself up, so getting a rejection naturally makes you feel like they’re rejecting you. That’s why most people tend to take rejections personally.

For example, when I get rejections on things that are very important to me, I feel frustrated (and sometimes even annoyed. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me or if I’m not good enough which then puts me in a state of self-doubt where I end up over complicating everything I do.

Of course, such thinking doesn’t help. It only makes you feel bad about yourself and the next time you try to approach a new prospect you over-think the call and it doesn’t sound natural. So, for whatever rejection you’ve faced, recognise that most of the time it’s a rejection of the service you are offering rather than a rejection of you as a person. You’re only trying to do your job and sell a product; it does not represent you as a person. Both are two entirely separate things. The problem is that if you are passionate about what you do, it’s very hard to separate the two.

That being said, although rejections are rarely personal, perhaps repeated rejection means you need to fine tune your pitch. Are you contacting the right person? Are you picking a sensible time of day to call? People don’t want to be cold called at 9am on a Monday. A blunt rejection can also reflect on previous experience that the person you are calling has had. If I call a client who has had a poor experience with another recruiter chances are that they think we are all the same. So, by taking yourself out of the equation, you’ll realise a lot of your emotional responses with the rejection are unnecessary.

Acknowledge your accomplishments

Don’t just think about the rejections though. Focus on the successes and work out why a particular call went well. We all have good days and bad days. Don’t dwell on the bad ones – focus on the good days, good calls and good results. Rejection still happens to the most experienced people in sales. It’s not by chance that we make a sale, but if you learn and develop from your previous mistakes you will the formula for success in your sector.

The best way to learn from your mistakes in any sales role is after making the mistake, understand what you did wrong but most importantly, what you did well call so that you can play to your strengths next time and continue to improve your pitch.

Ask the question

If a call doesn’t end in a positive response and you have the chance to ask why not then you should try to do so. What do you have to lose?

Use this chance to do a little market research to help improve because you may find out that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way you are presenting your product / service… It’s good to know these things, so that in the future you can work to improve your offering.