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Dealing with No


Disciplines > Sales > Sales articles > Dealing with No

Don't take it personally | Leave the door behind | Learn from it | See also


One of the hardest things for a sales person to deal with is a flat refusal, which is perhaps why cold calling is one of the most disliked activities. If, however, you can turn a refusal into an interesting and valuable experience, then your job can become much more interesting!

Don't take it personally

It's easy to take a rejection of a product or sales call as a rejection of you, personally. It seems as if the people don't like you in some way, or that you have personally failed somehow.

If you take this position, you are going to be a very sad person. Sales is full of rejections. You need at least to learn to put failures behind you. Look forward. There are many more people out there who are desperate for what you are selling.

Be objective. Separate the problem from the person, just as you might when you are selling. In fact you can sell to yourself the benefits of (this time) not completing the sale.

Leave the door open

Thank the person, whatever they say. Thank them for their time and for listening. Appreciate their situation and why they are not ready to take things further today (note the assumption that they may be ready another day).

Never take revenge, even with little snide remarks, because that will mean that at minimum they will never buy from you or your company again and maybe they will take revenge on your revenge, such as calling your boss or complaining about aggravation.

Learn from it

Take the opportunity to learn from what happened.

Think about the conversation, what was said and how it flowed. Think about the body language and voice tone. Were there any key moments when things went awry? How might it have been different? How might another person act and talk, perhaps a sales person you admire?

Be open and honest (but not berating) with yourself. Do you have any deep needs or limiting beliefs that are getting in the way? Are there any preferences that you have that are making you miss things? Are you trapped in any dysfunctional games that are preventing you from selling more often?

After telling them that you accept they are not ready now, you may also ask them for feedback on how you performed as a sales person and how you can be more effective. This can be effective sometimes are re-opening the door as they realize that you are a concerned person.

See also

Objectivity principle, Games, Needs, Preferences

Sales Books

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