The sales fear factor
When I present sales training workshops, I often hear an assortment of explanations to why sales opportunities are falling through the fingers of salespeople today: I don't want to seem pushy, I already left two messages, I’m not that good at sales , If they want my product or service, they'll call, to I keep meaning to follow up. All the reasons and excuses are really just fear, rearing its ugly head.
Fear of rejection is one of the obstacles that business owners and entrepreneurs face in business. Handling rejection and overcoming those negative feelings are critical to having success in sales. This chronic and debilitating condition has taken down many sales careers and is one thing that stands between salespeople and the success they want. Fear of rejection is the one condition for which there is no little pill and no quick fix.
This fear of rejection is so powerful that it turns otherwise confident and courageous people into self-doubting and trembling beings. Does the ability to handle rejection have a direct relationship to sales performance? Absolutely! In fact, it is one of the most critical attributes of highly successful salespeople. You weren't born with the fear of rejection, so anything learned can be unlearned.
Most people can’t handle the continuous rejection they know they’re going to encounter. One of my first sales trainers told me, “If you can’t handle a little rejection, get a job at the post office.” Basically telling me to suck it up because it’s a part of life and business. I will never forget his words. His tough love showed me the value of facing the fear instead of letting it take me down.
No matter what sales process you have in place, the irrational fear of rejection is a major obstacle to success in sales. The simple act of picking up the phone, calling or meeting a new customer is a gut-wrenching experience for most salespeople. Many ultimately fail because their fear has crippled them from moving through the sales process.
I was recently hired by a company to work with its sales team on how to communicate more effectively with customers and institute a sales process. Although the project was successful in addressing those two issues, they were only a small part of what was really going on. It wasn't long before I started to witness the blaring signs and symptoms of fear of rejection permeating the entire team. It was contagious and spreading rapidly, and the only cure was to dismantle that fear so true sales success could occur.
Rejection is tough to deal with, but it's part of sales. Changing your thought processes and developing a new and different perspective are the keys to overcoming the fear of rejection.
Unmanaged fear destroys success, and great salespeople aggressively work to eliminate fear. The only limits to your sales success are the ones you impose on yourself. The competition is in your own mind. When you do what you fear; the fear fades away and success appears.
How you handle rejection is simply a matter of perspective. Remember, every salesperson gets rejected. Don’t take it personally. They’re not rejecting you; they’re only rejecting your offer. Remember – it's not what you sell, it's how you sell.