5 Fundamentals That Will Forever Shift Your Thoughts on Rejection

If you’re in sales (or in any business) you’re going to face rejection. A lot.


Every time you present the merits of your offering you stand the chance of being rejected. While many people understand it’s just part of the job, others become paralyzed by the fear of “no.”

That fear prevents people from prospecting. It stops salespeople from asking for orders. It keeps salespeople from calling on real decision-makers. Such fears can result in job loss, which is the ultimate rejection.

But what’s critical to understand is the fear of rejection begets rejection. If you don’t want that endless cycle of fear and rejection to ruin your career, then it’s time to change your mindset. To do that, think of how you can flip rejection from something bad to something good.

You need to keep in mind that:

  1. Rejections can provide important lessons.

    People want you to know why they’re rejecting your product/service, and that information can be the first step in understanding the solutions they need. This is vital information that allows you to reshape your offer in a way that addresses why they rejected it in the first place.

  2. It’s part of the game.

    Harvard Business Review did a study that showed 85 percent of high-performing salespeople played individual or team sports in high school. They weren’t necessarily superstar athletes, but they consciously made the decision to compete. Sports teaches that rejection and loss are just part of the game. Salespeople who learn to treat rejection as part of the game, whether through sports or other means, will not be debilitated by it.

  3. You won’t remember the rejections.

    The best salespeople I know recall acceptance and winning way more than rejection and losses. I don’t know if there’s science behind this but it’s a reality. For me, the only rejections I remember are the ones that I eventually turned around. In my book, I talk about the credit union president who rejected me five times, adding an angry rant to the last episode. But during his tirade, he told me what he really needed. In the end, he became a very good customer.

  4. They’re not rejecting you.

    I used to sit in our call center to learn what was working with our outbound and inbound sales efforts. It was there during a week when we introduced a new product that had a such a poor reception that we stopped selling it in under a year. While I was talking with a manager we noticed a salesperson just staring at her phone. Within seconds tears were running down her face. We hurried over to see if she was OK and she looked up saying, “People hate us.” The manager said, “But they don’t hate you.” She pondered, smiled, and got back on the phone. That woman became a very successful sales director and tells that story to help others get over the fear of rejection.

  5. When they’re talking to you it’s not a rejection.

    This may be the hardest concept but it’s real. If a person is taking the time to tell you why he or she doesn’t want your product, they are engaging with you. He or she feels it’s worth the time to explain why they don’t want what you’re selling—today. Listen, learn, and come back another day. They’re not rejecting you, they’re just not buying today.

Check out the book Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, which details the benefits of having a growth mindset. Regarding sales, you benefit from believing that you can always be better and that your experiences will improve the more you do it.

How do you handle rejection? Please share your thoughts below.

©Rick Wong, The Five Abilities® LLC


Winning Lifelong Customers with The Five Abilities