People have so many reasons for not getting into and/or getting out of the Sales Profession: “Economy is bad”, “No security in commission sales”, “Nobody is buying!” When you dig into those superficial excuses, you touch the real reason so many people avoid and leave the sales world – the word No.

The Fear is Real

This word “No” is, quite possibly, the most powerful two-lettered word in the English language. The word “No” and all of its related baggage account for 5 of humanity’s Top 10 Fears:

  • Public speaking
  • Intimacy
  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Commitment

In his 2014 article for Psychology Today, “Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection“, John Amodeo, PhD. explained “[T]hat rejection confirms our worst fear—perhaps that we’re unlovable, or that we’re destined to be alone, or that we have little worth or value. ”

Sales is both an art and a science. When dealing with the challenge of rejection, both aspects come into play.

The Art of Sales

As an art, we anticipate and react to individual clients in real time as we navigate the sales process. When we hear the word No from an individual client, we need to add context to it – first and foremost separating the personal from the conceptional.

the word No

Too many new sales people conflate the rejection of the concept that is being presented with the rejection of the person doing the presentation. They mistakenly believe that the client is rejecting them personally – as opposed to the client actually rejecting the idea, concept, or product.

By mistakenly owning that rejection, the sales rep adds to his or her lifelong collection of slights, rejections, heartbreaks, and disappointments large and small. Exit our hero, stage left…

The key to harnessing the power of the word No is to recognize that the client is rejecting your product, your service, your presentation, your company or some combination of these. The fact that you made a positive personal connection in the Opening Phase of the selling cycle is proof positive that YOU are not the target of the rejection. Now that we have dispelled the idea of the “Personal No”, we can move on to addressing the “Concept No”.

The Science of Sales

On the science side, we recognize that there is an expectation of Concept Rejection built into the selling cycle – the Objection Phase. Stronger sales professionals know is and welcome any Concept Rejection because it helps on two ways.

The first is pure math. We know that there are 20% of clients that won’t buy regardless of your experience, knowledge or benefits to the client. When we factor in an average 20% to 30% closing ratio we should, mathematically, expect to experience rejection in as much as 80% of our client interactions!

We counter this by paraphrasing New Jersey and Chicago political operatives: “Get your No’s early and get them often!” The faster you get your 80 rejections, the faster you get your 20 sales!!!

The second way Concept Rejection helps is to Clarify and Refine our product, service and/or messaging. If we are fortunate enough to get a rejection in the objections phase we can ask the client for feedback. This feedback is the tool to clarify our presentation, change the product or specialize the service in order to convert that “No” to a “Yes!”

the word No

Entrepreneur and author Bo Bennett, PhD said it best, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” Keep stepping!


Please let us know what you think of this blog post. Leave a comment below and share it on the social media format of your choice!

1 Comment

4 Steps For More Referrals In 2020 - Elite Sales Institute, LLC · December 27, 2019 at 7:05 am

[…] kryptonite. Sales professionals are no exceptions to this rule! (For more about rejection, read The Power Of The Word “No”) One of the real challenges to asking for referrals is exposing yourself to rejection while you are […]

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.