Exactly How to Overcome Sales Rejection

In sales, facing rejection is part of the game. But just because  rejection is a given for salespeople, it doesn’t mean you have to let it drag you down.

In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to overcome rejection that’ll put you in the right mindset to pick  yourself up, and put yourself on the path towards blowing past your sales goals.

Sales rejection hurts

Now, if you’re in any kind of sales role, you know how it feels to be rejected by a prospect It’s happened to me. It’s happened to you. It’s happened to the greats like Ogilvy, Ziglar, Carnegie, even that guy from the ShamWow commercials. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be.

The point is this—even if you’re selling the most amazing, mind-blowing, revolutionary product on the market today, some of your prospects will say “no” when you call or email them.  sno.

And when that happens, it can be demoralizing.

It can sap your motivation to keep making calls. It can throw you off your trajectory towards hitting your goals. And it can ravage the sense of fulfillment you get from connecting people with a product you truly believe in.

But the motivation, the drive, the purpose—it can all be restored when you reframe rejection with the five concepts I’m going to share with you in this video.

And these aren’t “hacks” or “quick wins” or any other (frankly bullshit) jargon terms. There is no quick fix for this kind of stuff.

BUT if you want to take this given of sales and turn it on its head, you can start by internalizing these 5 concepts about rejection.

1: The Prospect Isn’t Rejecting YOU

The concept that the prospect isn’t rejecting you personally. They’re rejecting your pitch, product or timing.

There’s a reason we started with this one. Because honestly, this is the concept you’re going to easily improve  the most from. Concept #4 is similar but more on that in a sec.

Now, when you hear that dreaded no, the dial tone, or the deafening silence on the other end of the line, it isn’t necessarily you that the prospect isn’t responding to. It’s what you’re saying that they’ve ignored.

There are two main reasons you’re getting a negative response with your cold outreach

Reason #1: It’s Your Pitch

If your pitch isn’t hitting all the right pain points, then your prospect isn’t going to see the value of your product. The lesson here? Refine the pitch. Dive deeper into who your audience is, what makes them tick, and what problems they’re grappling with.

Reason #2: It’s Your Product

If after tweaking your pitch you’re still getting too many negative responses, your product just might not be a fit for the market. If that’s the case, it’s time to do some real research and re-evaluate your target audience.

2: Your Prospect’s on Autopilot

Next up, it could just be that your prospect is on autopiliot when you try to engage with them.

This concept is mostly for cold-call situations, but it can apply to cold emails, social messages, and a slew of other outreach methods too.

When you’re reaching out to your prospect, you’re jarring them out of being on autopilot. They’re knee-deep in the numbers, organizing their desktop, or doing one of a million other things that, guess what, have nothing to do with you.

When you give them a ring, they’re still in that other mode. And that means they’re going to respond reflexively with a “no” rather than do the work of understanding what you’re trying to tell them.

Think of it like this—when you walk into a shop and some spotty teenager stands at the door and asks if you need help, you automatically and instinctively say “no”, right?

Same goes with your prospect on a cold call.

Again, the buyers state of mind is not your fault.

So appreciate this, humbly when you do interrupt your prospects and ask if there’s a better time for a follow up call.

3: You’re Playing a Numbers Game

Point number 3, remember that to a certain extent, you’re playing a numbers game.

When you get down to it, sales is a numbers game. If you’re doing good work and documenting your wins and losses, you already know that it takes working with on average, say, four prospects before you close on one of them.

And if you’re not keeping track of these metrics, I highly recommend starting today.

This information on your win/loss ratio tells you that for every perceived failure (a hang-up, a negative response, a no response), you’re actually getting one step closer to closing a deal.

So rather than dwelling on the “no”, think of them like the necessary steps to securing a “yes” from a prospect and converting them into a buyer.

Now, similar to concept #1 (the prospect isn’t rejecting you personally) is the next concept #4. Both are valuable lessons you can use to learn about your prospect and actually sell them better, later.

4: A “No” Often Means “Not Right Now

A “no” from a prospect when selling to them, often means “not right now.” And in fact, it rarely rarely means “never, forever.”

You might have the perfect product, a primo pitch, and a very qualified  prospect. But if the timing isn’t right, they’re still not going to be able to give you their business.

This, however, is not a loss. Instead, it’s up to you to determine the why behind the prospect’s “no” before cutting the conversation with them short.

If the prospect gets back to you with “Oh, it’s just a really busy quarter for us” or “we’re right in the middle of a transition period,” this is a sign that you should reach out later on. So, ask them when is a good time to follow up before hopping off the phone.

With a few simple questions, you’ve turned what other salespeople would perceive as a negative experience into potential business further down the line.

Alright, last but certainly not least is an idea you should remember for the rest of your sales career…

5: This Is Just Business

This is just business.

When you get rejected, you aren’t being attacked. You aren’t under assault. And the prospect isn’t going to jump through the screen via Zoom and strangle you for pitching a product they don’t like.

The stakes—the real stakes—are actually pretty damn low.

You’re just doing business. And you’re just doing it for a company that you represent.

The sooner you adopt the “it’s just business” attitude, the sooner you can accept that:

  1. No one is going to actually hurt you here.
  2. You’re just doing your job. That’s all.

And the sooner you learn to cope with rejection, the better you’re going to be at that job. Simple as that.


So there you have it—5 concepts to keep in mind any time you get that dreaded “no” during your cold selling outreach.

And if you want to be truly successful as a sales rep, you should:

  1. Reframe your rejections using these five concepts
  2. Learn from your mistakes
  3. Adjust your strategy accordingly

Because when you can do that, nothing will be able to hold you back from crushing your goals.

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