Market leading Sales forces are singularly focused: to sell stuff. Sales are one of the most accountable areas of the organization and often are under the constant microscope of senior leaders as they have a significant, immediate, and direct impact on the bottom line. Companies must enable their salespeople and not emasculate them. Over the past 25 years I have always preferred to hire the sales stallions over order taking geldings. Stallions require you to have a high emotional intelligence, and they will often try to get your goat, however they consistently produce and add value. While geldings wait to be told what to do, how to say it, and where to go. Mavericks are saying get out of my way or I will run over you.
Why do some salespeople consistently achieve their sales growth goals while most (60%)struggles? How do we fix this common sales problem? We must help our salespeople overcome the fear of rejection and become “Rejection Proof”.
Your salespeople have their sales goals. You shared what you expect in terms of growth from current business and identified the delta. The delta is the difference between the new sales goal and what your current business should do. I refer to this delta as: New Business Needed.
Most sales teams will have a big sales problem in November…it will be obvious they will not achieve the New Business Needed part of their sales plan and they will come in around 78%-90% of their sales plan.
The most common reasons I have observed over the past 30+ years of leading and coaching sales teams are …
Fear of Rejection
I have shared in a number of posts how to fix the sales problem of dated value propositions and in others posts how to quickly understand your markets.
In this post I will share how to help your salespeople overcome the fear of rejection and become rejection proof.
What is rejection and why do we all try to avoid it at all cost?
Rejection occurs when people interact and one says “no” and refuses to act on something that was asked. Rejection is a moment in time judgment made based on a number of factors most people do not realize…
From my experience salespeople experience rejection when the buyer decides, based on what they have been presented and what they believe to be true, they do not trust the product or service will solve a problem or need. Or the buyer fails to have the problem the product or service solves and that is the sales problem of properly qualifying opportunities.
At this point in my sales career rejection does not scare me. A “no” just means “not yet” but it took me years to get to this point.
I do not own rejection and I do not see it as some badge or scar I need to carry with me and worry that others see it. I see rejection for what it is: a judgment based on information at that moment in time.
As I shared in a recent sales conference…
“Rejection is a moment in time occurrence based on the information at that time… not a painful stain on your soul…once we see it for what it is we can stop being afraid of it”
The trouble is as humans we seek acceptance and approval from other people. Couple our deep need for acceptance in our DNA with the needs for safety and comfort and we should not be shocked salespeople avoid asking for the sale due to the fear of rejection. If we feel rejection and not observe it as a judgment we fail to feel safe.
How do we help salespeople overcome the fear of rejection and ask for the new business we need?
How can we teach salespeople to become rejection proof early in their careers and not wait 20+ years until they see rejection for what it is?
I was preparing a workshop to help salespeople overcome the fear of rejection and a friend suggested I should look into the work of Jia Jiang and watch his TED Talk. He has a number of very popular you tubes on rejection and a book titled: Rejection Proof, how to beat fear and become invincible through 100 days of rejection.
The book: Rejection Proof should be in everyone’s library, particularly sales and sales leaders.
The author shares how he set out on a quest to overcome his fear of rejection by purposefully experiencing 100 rejections over 100 days.
It is a fun and quick book to read.
The examples he shares have a great deal of humor like asking for a burger refill at his favorite hamburger joint.
What I found fascinating though is not everyone said “no” to some of his crazy requests like asking Krispy Kreme donuts to make him a donut shaped like the Olympic rings. The store manager not only made one for him but she gave it to him for free!
This made me wonder…
How many sales could have been won if the salesperson would have asked for the sale and not feared rejection?
I led the class on rejection, specifically overcoming rejection and I suggested everyone check out Jia Jiang’s You-Tubes and read his book.
What happened next I did not expect…
- One person shared how he was at his fitness club and tried to be rejected by asking for a free massage…they gave it to him!
- Another shared how he was in a long line at Chipotle, and asked for free chips for his inconvenience…they gave it to him!
- Another boldly asked to drive my 1972 Corvette, a car that was my dad’s…I said “sure, its just a car”
- Some heard very loud “No’s” like the young man who asked for an attractive young girls phone number while she was sitting with her date (not one I would coach you to try)
- Or the young man who asked for a “good guy discount” at an auto parts store. The clerk said “ a what?” The young man said I am a good guy and would like your good guy discount… he was rejected!
Could it be one reason why top sales performers consistently achieve and surpass their sales and profit goals is because they have had so many rejections they too have become Rejection Proof? I believe it is.
I look back over my career calling on customers like: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, CAT, Blockbuster Cummins Engines, Sony Music, Ford, Nintendo, CA, Microsoft and many more…and I received many more rejections than purchase orders. Those rejections over 30+ years made me rejection proof today.
What if we strategically insure our sales teams receive many rejections early in their careers and actually made it an application exercise in their training?
If you do…you will have a team of sales super stars blowing their sales goals out of the water!
If you need to fix a sales problem, the fear of rejection, I recommend you ask your team to read Rejection Proof and have them set out on a quest of their own to receive 100 rejections as fast as possible.
How about your team….
Are your salespeople losing sales they could have won simply by asking?
What impact would it have your your bottom line if your sales team was rejection proof?