Tim Huffaker 2017I was talking to a friend not too long ago, who asked me how I could stand being a salesperson and deliberately subjecting myself to constant rejection.  

He concluded that I must have been genetically mutated at birth to be able to survive the continual rejection associated with selling. I don’t like rejection any more than the next person; however, I have learned to deal with it and reduce the instances to a tolerable level.  Let me share a few things I have learned and applied during my forty-three year sales career.

  • People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to buy.  The feeling of being sold puts most people into a defensive posture.  They want to protect themselves from the power of persuasion. They may very well have a need for the product or service, but the fact that they feel coerced sets in motion an automatic reflex.  The reaction triggers both a physical and psychological barrier that is often verbalized with the expression, “No”. It is an automatic reflex related to survival. When people feel they are being sold, the auto-programed “No!” response is triggered.  If you don’t want to hear the word no, then don’t sell. I didn’t say don’t be a salesperson. I just said, don’t sell. That doesn’t mean we don’t make sales, it just means we approach the objective differently.

  • Discover their needs and pain, then present solutions and cures.  How often do people turn down help or solutions to problems? If your focus is to help someone with your products or services, they are far more likely to accept your solution than to turn it down.  Don’t sell; discover what they need to solve their problems. Present reasonable and logical solutions so people will want to buy without you needing to sell. This approach reminds me of Aesop’s fable entitled The Wind and The Sun:

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger.

Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun

said: "I see a way to decide our dispute.  Whichever of us can

cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as

the stronger.  You begin."  So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and

the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller.

But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his

cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.

Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the

traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

Moral:  Kindness effects more than severity.

We might change the moral as it relates to salespeople and suggest that, “presenting solutions effects more sales than selling”.

  • Build an atmosphere of trust with the buyer.  Remember, people buy from people they believe, like and trust.  The automatic response when dealing with people who don’t trust you is the dreaded word, “no”.  If you want to reduce the incidences of rejection in your sales career, build trust with your prospects from the beginning.

  • Let the decision to purchase your solution or cure be their idea, not yours.  Help them see the relationship between your remedy and their situation. Allow them the opportunity to logically and emotionally decide to buy.  Ask the questions that will encourage the prospect to arrive at the correct solution without asking them to buy. Avoid the very appearance of coercion.  Let it be their idea and their conclusion.

  • Don’t be afraid to lose the sale in order to win it.  If you determine the situation may warrant it, create a “take away” transition.  In other words, suggest that your product may not be appropriate for them. As you gently pull the solution away, they will instinctively reach out for it, psychologically reinforcing their desire to have it.  When they want your product or service, they will find a way to achieve it.

By applying these principles and skills, you will eliminate the majority of the dreaded rejection that is the plight of all average salespeople.  Top sales performers apply these principles and don’t waste their time dealing with rejection.