Dealing with Rejection

This will be my one-stop resource for advice on dealing with rejection. And yes, this page very much is a work in progress, as you can obviously see.

If you have tips on handling rejection, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve already gotten a ton of great responses on Twitter and LinkedIn, so chime in if you’ve got a tip of your own.

Here’s some of my advice that I’ve shared in the past on this subject:

How to deal with rejection

In this podcast episode from 2019 I share how I think about rejection. A lot of people see me on stage and assume that I’m immune to the pain of rejection, but nothing could be further from the true. I feel its sting—just like you! I’ve just felt it so much many more times that I’ve gotten better at getting over it.

This is really the place to start if you want to learn how to get better at dealing with rejection.

The old school sales rejection hack

In the early days of my sales career, an old-school sales person taught me this simple mind hack which helped me handle rejection better.

If you’ve been in sales for a while, it’s very likely that you’ve heard about this mental rejection trick already elsewhere. It’s been around for ages.

But one of the reasons why people still talk about this old-school hack is that it actually works.

Dealing with rejection in sales: The $8 million difference

Years ago I watched an interview with Barbara Corcoran where she said that there’s 2 traits that differentiated the top performers from the underperformers in her sales team:

  • Having something to prove or a chip on your shoulder.
  • Being able to emotionally deal with rejection.

These two trait made up the difference between salespeople making $40,000 and those making $8 million per year in her organization!

Invest 5 minutes and answer these four sales rejection questions for yourself and your sales team:

  1. Do I have something to prove? If so, what is it?
  2. How do I feel when I get rejected?
  3. Does rejection slow me down?
  4. What are my rituals/habits to cope with daily rejection?

What are you doing to prepare your sales team for rejection?

If you’re managing a sales team, it’s crucial that you coach them on how to handle rejection. In this blog post, I share some actionable advice on making sure your reps don’t let rejection slow them down.

Hire the right people. I’m a huge believer in the human potential for change. But if you’re a sales manager, don’t make your job harder than it needs to be. Hire people that already are emotionally resilient.

Teach them the old-school rejection trick. Make sure that even on a team-level, your sales reps look at rejection as something positive: a stepping stone to a yes.

You can even institute a leaderboard that keeps track of who gets the most rejections on any given day—sales people are often competitive by nature, and if you set the goal to be getting the most rejections, it can have really drive sales performance.

How to close a deal: Ask early, ask often and embrace the no

This is one of the traits I see in the very best sales people, and it’s how I believe every sales professional should go about seeking out and receiving rejection: You should ask for the yes, fully anticipating and expecting the other person to say yes. And you should ask often. And when you get a no, you should be totally cool with it. Don’t let it pull you down, don’t be disappointed or frustrated.

Learn to love the “no” (and win in sales)

The best sales people know that no is their friend. In fact, they’re connoisseurs of nos!

There’s different kinds of nos:

  • the generic no – most commonly occurs early in the sales process
  • the maybe no – most commonly occurs later in the sales process
  • the no no – most commonly occurs at the end of the sales process, after a lot of effort has been invested in the sales conversation.

Great sales people are able to distinguish between the different kinds of nos and understand that every no is an opportunity in disguise. An opportunity to distinguish themselves as a salesperson and rise above the pack. An opportunity to learn more about the prospect, and most importantly, themselves.

Afraid of cold calling? How to turn your fear of failure into fearlessness

Imagine being so terrified of getting rejected on the phone that your mind goes totally blank, you freeze up, and literally start stuttering and rambling on the phone. It’s impossible to close a deal in that mental state.

Just grinding through it is not the way to go. Here’s a creative hack we employed with one of our sales reps that turned him from being terrified of rejection to making cold calls like a pro.