7 Ways to Shift Your Perspective About the Dreaded 'No' in Sales

Overcome the uncomfortable and awkward moment of a rejection from a client.

learn more about Sherrie Campbell

By Sherrie Campbell • Oct 16, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There's an old saying: The strongest fish is the one that swims upstream.

When you're rejected in a business context, it can feel as if things have come to a complete halt. But in reality these rejections give you something to push against. Rejection is an opportunity to grow stronger even when it seems like everything is working against you.

As a salesperson, you're forced to cope with the less than desirable and perhaps unexpected. In this way, rejection gifts you with resilience. And resilience is what gives a sales professional longevity and the determination to come out on top.

Related: Failure Is Part of the Game. Getting Back Up Is the Magic Sauce. (Motiongraphic)

1. Your potential clients aren't rejecting you.

The only thing being rejected is your pitch -- not you. So don't delete these potential customers from your list of business contacts. All the rejection means is that something about your proposal needed fine-tuning or tweaking. Take the rejection as feedback and go back to the drawing board to further customize and improve your pitch.

2. Failure motivates you to improve.

A rejection can signal a need for you do something you're not currently doing or to cease doing something. Figuring this out will put you on a path to better performance and less rejection in the future.

Rejection offers an opportunity for more self-awareness, a platform for you to remake yourself. Through rejection you can become more goal-oriented, committed and deliberate. You can become more adaptable and people oriented, helping you work better with future customers.

Related: Skip the Reluctant Customers. Start Resonating With the Right Crowd.

3. No is often easier to say than yes.

Sometimes the rejection of a pitch has to do with the timing. When a prospect is approached at the wrong time, he or she might find it simply easier to dismiss your pitch. To say yes would mean the person would have to take time to think about your offer.

Calls with an instant dismissal are inevitable. Don't take them personally. Just take notes and try for a better time to connect in the future.

4. Learn to say "next."

Receiving a rejection clears space, allowing you to move on to the next big opportunity. Take a no as a direction to turn to the next prospect or opportunity. Rejection is life's way of guiding you to look at a different path so you'll arrive where you want to be.

Maybe the path you were taking is not the correct one to land this particular customer. Or maybe there's a better way to approach things that you haven't yet realized. Rejection can be a positive experience if you're willing to take another crack at things or try a new way.

5. All the greats have been turned down.

Everybody is the star of his or her own show. This leads many people to have an inflated sense of self-importance. Everyone can stand to be taken down a notch or two at some point.

Rejection reminds you that you're human, no matter how extraordinary you'd like to believe you are. You become extraordinary by trying again and again to land the deals you want.

6. A nay teaches patience.

Some kinds of rejection can be hurtful, while others are outright devastating. Not landing a deal that you spent months working on can be a great disappointment -- but only for as long as you let it be.

Rejection can help you by teaching you to be patient and keep moving. You may not get what you want right away. But if you are willing to work hard patiently, you'll eventually find yourself where you want to be.

7. Disappointment offers new ways to look at things.

Everybody gets tunnel vision. When you focus on one goal, person or customer to the exclusion of others, you can become locked into rigid thinking. Remember, rigid structures always collapse first. Rejection gives you the occasion to stop and reflect on your strategies and implementation. Look around with new eyes at the bigger picture and consider fresh ways to arrive at the same goal.

Remember, rejection is an opportunity for growth not an automatic negative. View rejection as a chance for you to evolve -- to change your manner of approaching potential customers. Everybody at some point faces rejection. Salespeople face it every day. What makes a difference is how you handle it.

Sales professionals are often in new situations, which brings a level of unknown to the table. As you continue to master skills, something remarkable happens: You gain clarity on what needs to be fine-tuned. You see how things get done and how things fit together. After learning and observation, you can repitch your proposal and reopen the opportunity for a yes.

Related: Sales Prospecting Isn't an Event. It's a Campaign.

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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