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Five Secrets to Embracing Sales Rejection

Posted Monday, April 16, 2012, at 9:53 AM

When asked what contributed most to his NBA career, Michael Jordan said he missed more shots than he made, which is why he had the opportunity to make more memorable shots. No one remembers how many shots you missed. Similarly, sales is a numbers game.

Sure, every sales rep prefers to focus on fewer quality calls, but no matter your skill and experience, the path to sales success is paved with rejection. Sales guru Dale Carnegie said it best: "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."

Adopt these five strategies to embrace sales rejection -- leveraging a "no" to fire you up and reach your targets.

Secret #1: Separate your personal identity from your sales role. Emotionally disconnect from the outcome. When a prospect says "no," you must believe down to your very core they aren't rejecting you; they're simply rejecting the product or service you're selling. If you take it personally, it can lead to call reluctance and a lack of sales activity. Remember, selling isn't about getting a "yes" or a "no." It's simply about getting a prospect to make a decision.

Secret #2: Disqualifying is as important as qualifying. Your time is valuable, and so you need to make sure you're spending time with the right prospects. When talking with a prospect for the first time, you are evaluating whether they are a good fit for your company. The fact that they have dollars to spend doesn't necessarily make them a good fit.

Secret #3: Employing this mindset allows you to even the playing field, empowering you to see your prospect as a peer. They have money and you have a solution to a problem. Don't put your prospect on a pedestal. You are equals that may find it mutually beneficial to partner together; and then again, you may not.

Secret #4: Recognize that higher rejection rates lead to more sales and higher earnings. Normalize rejection by setting benchmarks for yourself -- how many calls it's going to take you to close a sale. Then, embrace a "no" as putting you one step closer to the coveted "yes."

Secret #5: When you're staring into the face of sales rejection, it's easy to stall on picking up the phone for your next call until your mind is right and you're comfortable again. If you wait until you're comfortable, you may never pick up the phone again. You need to be a little uncomfortable every day to be successful in sales. Do the activity and your attitude will follow. The key to getting comfortable is consistency.

Having a sound sales process and well-differentiated product or service goes a long way in sales, but if you can win the psychological battle, the market is yours.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN. www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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Lori Turner-Wilson
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Lori spent over 15 years leading corporate marketing and communications divisions in the financial services, hospitality and franchise restaurant sectors. As Director of Target Marketing for the Hampton Hotels brand of Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lori managed promotional, direct and Web marketing, as well as custom publishing, for the brand's franchise system. In her role as Vice President of Employee Communications and Development for First Horizon National Corporation, she managed the corporation's internal culture initiatives, communications, and employee recognition programs. Other positions held include Sr. Communications Director/Corporate Editor for TCBY Enterprises, Inc., and Vice President of Marketing for First National Banking Company. Lori is a founding sponsor and member of the Board of Directors for LaunchMemphis -- an organization committed to developing an entrepreneurial community in Memphis comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and local organizations. In addition, Lori is on the Board of Directors of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South and on the Advisory Board for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. She is a sought-after speaker in the Memphis area, delivering sales and marketing keynote addresses and workshops to organizations like: the Memphis Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South, LaunchMemphis, EmergeMemphis, the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lori holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in addition to having completed the University of Colorado's School of Bank Marketing and Management. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards including local and district Addy's, Communicator awards, and a Telly. She received recognition as one of the Memphis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" recipients in 2009. Lori also served as a contributing ghost writer for the renowned "Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing." Beyond her passions for marketing and dogs of all shapes and sizes, Lori is an avid traveler, runner and foodie.