How often do we think of the reasons to not do something when performing a challenging task?
“Never tell me the odds!” is Harrison Ford’s response when told about the uncertainty of his success navigating an asteroid field in the film The Empire Strikes Back.
As salespeople our success is directly related to how we deal with rejection. Because of not wanting to expose ourselves to rejection we pin too much hope on too few opportunities. This is what happens:
- excessively hard closing
- price reductions
- creative terms/ offers
- excessive follow up
This is because there are too few opportunities in the pipeline and we start to move them along prematurely. This peaks at month end or at the end of a quarter. The issue is this movement is rarely going to be effective because the activity is driven from our own agenda, sales cycle and motives. Not those of the buyer and their buying cycle.
So what is the solution? We need to become more requiring of ourselves to do more front end activity, and get better at asking for more referrals. (I’ll cover how to ask for more referrals in one of my next blogs.) Let’s take the front end activity first of all.
Psychologically what’s stopping us doing the activity is our ability to hear the word “no” multiple times a day. So we limit our exposure to it. First we need to re-frame it so we don’t see it negatively.
Hearing a “no” then asking questions to understand the Prospect and their business better is an opportunity to develop the relationship. Think of all your customers who said “no” to you initially before engaging with you. Often these customers become so loyal they become your advocates!
Here’s another way to look at it. How do you feel when you lose a customer? It’s really frustrating because now you have to find 2 customers- the one you were looking to win and the incremental one you now have to find to replace the one you just lost!
You can adopt this mind set, emotion and conviction with front end activity too: by not doing enough you are already losing the customers you never had!
I get told all the time by salespeople that there isn’t time- I know we are all crazy busy -so we have to find the time! And the easiest way to create that time is to re-prioritise your schedule. It comes back to one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
“Put first things first!”
We arrange our schedule so that the priority is some increased front end activity and everything else follows. Set appointments with yourself to perform the required tasks. Have a look through your schedule and ruthlessly find some tasks to cut or replace, for example:
Meetings you didn’t need to attend, conversations you could do by phone rather than in person. Set shorter times for internal meetings.
Set extra time to create more sales conversations. Expect the “no” initially which will lead to the real opportunities- much better than the frustration of forcing the pace of the Prospect’s buying cycle to fit our sales cycle.
How do you deal with rejection? It would be great to hear examples where this has worked!