Managing rejection in sales

A lot of people consider selling to be a confrontational conversion, lightly smeared with honey to make it seem agreeable. There are two reasons for that: first, the sales person wants to win, and second, the prospect wants to retain both his money and his pride.

Now, of course this does not happen in every sale, but it can be considered a typical model. Elements of the confrontation could quite easily enter any sale.

The second reason is that the sales person is scared of rejection. As you know, fear of loss or pain is a much more powerful motivator than the prospect of gain. Rejection brings loss of face – a concept not restricted to Orientals.

To avoid rejection, the sales person needs a protective strategy.

Some adopt a tough attitude, placing themselves in the dominant role, and the prospect in the role of supplicant. This old-fashioned macho approach is doomed to failure in the long run. Even short term gains may quickly be reversed with cancellations at the first opportunity.

Even the prospect wants to save face!

If you are selling, you need to build into your preparation a fall-back position. What is the least you will settle for if you don’t get the sale?

It could be something as simple as an introduction to another prospect, or even another appointment in three months’ time. It could be a referral to someone else. Viewed in the context of a new relationship, an immediate sale is not the only objective.

Work out what you will accept as an alternative to your main objective and you will be able to walk out with your tail up. Selling is hard, and no one can endure repeated rejections without being affected.

So protect yourself. Plan your fall-back position and give yourself another chance to feel good about the encounter.

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