Are you able to handle all the emotions that come with failing?
If you don’t, you’re definitely not alone. Rejection is the single biggest apprehension of outsiders-looking-in when it comes to sales. Don’t think that all is lost. Sure, being a salesperson, you need to have thick skin—but a big step toward overcoming sales rejection is preparation. No matter how thick your skin is, if you’re not equipped with the right tools and knowledge to respond to sales rejections, then your efforts will most of the time end in naught.
You’ve experienced rejection a number of ways even before you started a career in sales, right? You navigated through the job market and found yourself here, dealing with the challenges that come with a high-velocity career. Sales professionals eat rejection everyday. From prospects who just cancel every appointment last minute, to secretaries who just won’t let you get some airtime with the decision-makers.
To most, the reaction would be to just make more calls. Frankly, those who’ve spent a lot of time in sales know that playing the numbers game is filing your nails too short. Soon enough, you will be burnt out.
Quality prospecting and knowing how to handle reluctance and rejection are keys to not losing your mind and getting wins in sales.
Seasoned salespeople know that rejection is part of the process, therefore they handle it with competence. Those who understand rejection early are those who extend their careers, enjoying long and fruitful lives in sales.
So where do you begin? It’s best to take the practical approach and thresh out scenarios so you’re ready when you’re faced with evasion or a no.
Here are some ways you can respond and handle rejection:
Your prospects can’t make time
You’ve worked so hard getting appointments, presenting, developing authority and trust, and building up a relationship with your prospect. You’ve sensed and sniffed out subtle buying signals. They’re all in. They know you can help them and they love your product. They’ve seen it in action through the multiple times you’ve demoed for them. Money? They’ve made it clear that it’s definitely not the issue.
Why aren’t you able to close the sale then?
“I’m just so busy, we’d have to get the right timing.”
Yes. Your prospect doesn’t have the sense of urgency. At least, not as much as the boiling feeling you get under your skin.
How should you respond?
Identify the weakness of your sales process so far. When this happens, it’s most likely that your prospects see a good fit but don’t think they’ll get an immediate positive impact. They think they can put you off since losing time not using your product doesn’t really net a loss.
People buy with their hearts and rationalize with their heads. You’ve heard it countless times. How come you haven’t applied it to your closing techniques?
There are two avenues you can appeal to when facing a situation like this. Try to make an impact on their emotions and their rationality.
Appeal to rationality
It’s what you’ve been doing the whole time but you may have to fine-tune it. Make the business case for your product vis-a-vis theirs. Talk numbers and determine a timeline for the ROI and succeeding profits.
If you’ve done proper discovery work, you’d have no problems demonstrating the detailed projections your solution will bring the customer. You need to present numbers. When they see the growth or profitability of your solution when applied to their situation, they’ll realize that they are losing money while they haven’t adopted your solution yet. This is how you create urgency.
Appeal to emotion
While some salespeople will scoff at the idea, emotions really play a big part in purchase decisions. So much so, Wharton categorically said emotions drive sales more than anything else.
With this in mind, there are a couple of ways to turn the soft no into a yes. Since you’ve already established a relationship with the prospect, you’d have a good grasp of their hopes and aspirations by now. Focus on these things. We’re not only talking of the goals of the company the decision maker is working for. You would want to have him focus on the impact of the product on his or her career.
Banking on the accomplishments the prospect can get through your solution, lead with these thoughts:
- How would this accomplishment affect your career and financial situation?
- If you continue with your current situation, how do the next five years look like?
- If you get this done and reach the numbers, what would be the impact on your career?
Getting the sale sometimes mean you need to have the decision-maker emotionally invested in your product. If you’re selling a great solution, there’s definitely no issue with that.
Your prospects think they don’t need it
When prospecting, you’re looking for leads who have the need for your product. Some may already know outright that there is a hole to be filled, but there are also situations where you have to create the need.
When you reach out to a prospect and you build a relationship with them, you will get to explore their side and find out if there is a need to be filled. If there is indeed a need but still they cannot find value in your solution, the responsibility lies on you. There is something to be improved in your technique and process, or you’re just not connecting with the prospect the right way because you don’t understand their needs.
How do you explore the needs of a prospect?
Learn as much as possible about their business
Get a good sense of how your prospect’s business works. Using this knowledge, you can pinpoint the areas where you can add value and provide solutions. Also, research the industry and their direct competitors. What are they missing out on? What are the processes their competitors are doing better? Remember, this will also add points to you in your likability. Prospects prefer salespeople who take time to get to know their company.
Probe and dig deep by asking questions
When you’re engaging with a prospect, remember that there are a lot of times where you just need to keep your mouth shut and let the prospect talk. Uncover meaningful bits of information and don’t be afraid to explore possibilities with your prospects.
Preach benefits not features
It goes without saying that you need to know your solution inside out. When you do, it’s easier to see the product in the context of your prospect’s business even before a trial or a demo. Talk about how you can help them and what they can achieve with your solution, not about how great your product is. It’s all about perspective and angles.
Keep an open mind
When you see an opportunity to present your solution to the prospect that you’re sure will just blow them away, remember not to stop exploring other angles. Your awesome approach may or may not work. If anything, continued exploration and probing will only help you present your solution in a more robust light.
You don’t have the full trust of your prospects
Sometimes rejections stem from prospects not believing you can deliver what you say you will. This is crucial. So crucial that sometimes, even numbers don’t come off believable to them? Remember emotion and rationality? Emotions come into play when the perceived risk from acquiring your solution is magnified because the prospect either does not trust you or doesn’t believe you have the authority to make claims on the business matters you both are discussing.
Trust is earned.
How do you gain a prospect’s trust?
Research your prospect
The more you know about them, the better you can navigate situations. Confidence can only be achieved if you’ve done your homework. The prospect will trust you if you can handle conversations about their industry with competence and ease. Especially for high-price point solutions, you need to be trustworthy in the eyes of your prospects. Very basic: treat them with respect. Find out their wishes and aspirations. Start discussions based on how they can improve and be there to advocate for their growth—their own career and their business.
Be an advocate for your prospect
Remember, your prospect is human. A lot of sales professionals get fixated on the quota or the commission, that sometimes prospects are treated like a necessary hurdle just to get to the goal. Well, unfortunately, to get to that goal, you have to build relationships with your prospects. Maintain a positive attitude and be since in helping them out. Ask questions regarding their progress and situation, find opportunities where you can add value. Be likable. Know your limits but don’t be afraid to over-help.
Show sincerity and genuine interest in your prospect’s business
The stereotype of a salesperson is one who is a fast-talking, no-pausing pro, fiddling with their Bluetooth earpiece and an expensive pen. Anybody who’s had a good run in sales will tell you that it’s more about listening than talking. Listening allows you to know your prospect more and find points you can build upon. Strike the right balance between talking about your solution and finding more about your prospect. When you get the chance to talk, present case studies through stories of other businesses you’ve helped with your solution.
Your prospect has budget issues
Objections on pricing are common, especially with a lot of businesses tightening belts and looking for free services that augment their profits. For companies who sell, the pressure to compete through pricing is intense. However, price negotiations are not won only though giving in and giving up.
Avoid applying discounts as they can lower the perceived value of your solution. Instead, follow these tips:
Confirm that there is a real budget issue
People like to object anything related to money. If you can get something for less or for free, why not, right? Listen to your prospect’s objections and confirm that the issue is really with money. Sometimes, they are saying it for the quick exit.
A good way to circumvent this situation is by asking a straightforward question, “If money were no object, what would be the best solution for you?” Forging a common ground with your prospect can jumpstart discussion, making it smoother to work out budget issues.
Be flexible in scope not in price
Avoid the slippery slope of discussing payment options and itemization. This can lead you to get into a discussion where the prospect tries to push back the price and you care forced to say no after no. This will turn the discussion into a bitter checkmate, which more likely will cause you to lose the sale.
Prevent this by focusing on adjusting scope. Whether it’s time or coverage, discuss options where you can meet.
Go straight to the decision-maker
Ideally, you’re pitching to the decision-maker. However, in a lot of situations, schedules and office bureaucracy prevent you from talking to people who directly call the shots. When price is the last hurdle, make sure to ask to talk to the person who pulls the trigger.
Knowing the varied natures of the different types of sales rejections help you prepare for real-world situations. Review these—and device plans for each scenario. This helps you be quick on your feet and face objections with less stress.
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