Remember that motto we were taught growing up… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”? Well, for those of us who have been rejected at one time or another, which is all of us, you wouldn’t wish that feeling on your worst enemy. Rejection is painful on a number of fronts. Aside from how it makes us feel emotionally, it often can cause a downward spiral in our self-confidence and self-esteem that can last for varying lengths of times. That downward spiral often seeps into other aspects of our lives causing us a variety of ways to second-guess ourselves. This can be devastating for salespeople who live and die by their commission checks.
So why do sales prospects and customers drag out sales cycles, not respond to emails and phone messages, and tell us what we want to hear? It’s never easy to give bad news, especially when you are affecting someone’s livelihood and delivering a message that says you’re not good enough. When a prospect declines to purchase your product or services, it isn’t necessarily an indictment of you, but the question is, do you see it that way? Frankly, many salespeople get angry and feel led on or that the prospect was disingenuous. They become further upset because they start to perceive the experience as time wasted.
Here are the multitude of reasons why you may be ghosted, temporarily ignored or pacified by a prospective customer:
- The contact person feels guilty based on how much time you have spent
- The person may feel you are going to become angry and they are conflict avoidant
- They don’t feel like they need to justify why they are not responding
- If they ignore this problem, long enough – you will go away
- They will lose face if they tell you the reason
- They view a sales transaction as having a winner and loser
Damn, those are a lot of motivating factors for prospects to avoid you! To protect your mental and emotional health and not pin your confidence to outcomes that are beyond your control, sales emotional intelligence (Self-awareness, Self-Control, Motivation, Empathy) will allow you to better navigate people’s fears. By being self-aware and empathetic to what may really be going on, you give yourself clarity and resiliency while allowing others to be themselves and share their true feelings without repercussion.
I often talk about how leaders and parents need to create a culture for safe, open, and honest communication to learn the truth. Salespeople need to do the same with their customers. Here are some proven MindsetGo coaching methods that have worked consistently.
- Give People an Out – Quite frequently, I tell prospects early in a sales call that I have a thick skin and am okay if at any time they determine they aren’t interested, they can please let me know. Then I say, “I know your time is valuable and so is mine.” This allows me to advocate for myself and my time as a salesperson and sends the message we are in this together.
- Share Your Process – When is decision time? – what are steps that clients typically follow when signing up with you? What do you provide so people involved in the decision-making process can feel like they can make a diligent and informed decision?
- No Decision – Not the MLB pitcher version..the version where prospects say they are happy with status quo or current providers and even though it doesn’t make sense – you respect it and keep the door open for future business.
Sales Emotional Intelligence is a skill set that allows you to accurately recognize why someone may be acting the way they are, respond in a productive and effective way without overreacting, be motivated to treat each relationship separately, and empathize with why someone is withholding info and know how to influence them to do something differently. So the next time you feel rejected, realize that you can do something about it and truly understand how to learn from it.