It's human nature to fear and dislike rejection. In all walks of life the word "no" is certainly not what we want to hear unless the question was "do I look fat in this skirt?"
In business, hearing "no" feels like rejection of the personal sort; they are rejecting my quality products and services, they are rejecting me as a possible vendor.
In reality, "no" may mean something entirely different. In sales we are taught that "no" simply means that we haven't clearly associated a benefit with a need so the prospect is able to say "yes."
But it could mean something else entirely. Until we walk a mile in our prospect's shoes, we don't know what the real reason for their negative response.
Sandy O'Dell addresses how to handle "no" as a sales person in her article "When No is better than yes, The Advantage of Sales Rejection."
She shares a story of an experience where she turned a "no" into a trusted relationship.
I don't know about you, but when I hear "no" it's tough not to hang your head, turn and walk away, feet shuffling as you replay the conversation and wonder where you went wrong.
Not Sandy. She stayed. Once the prospect trusted that Sandy had accepted the "no" as fact, her guard was down. Sandy followed with a few insightful questions that sparked a detailed dialogue:
What is your current lead generation strategy and how successful has it been?
What chief barriers are preventing you from reaching your goals?
If you could identify one or two "wish list" resources to improve the performance of your division, what would they be?
The result? The beginnings of a trusted relationship and a clearer understanding of the prospect's challenges that would never have been uncovered in a regular sales conversation.
What do you do when you hear "no?" Do you have a story of how rejection turned into a great experience?
Deborah Chaddock Brown