"How are you getting along?" asked the old timer of the new sales rep.

"Not so good," came his disgusted reply. "I’ve been insulted in every place I made a call."

"That's funny," said the old timer. "I’ve been on the road 40 years. I’ve had my samples flung in the street, been tossed downstairs, manhandled by janitors and rolled in the gutter. But insulted -- never!"

We all deal with rejection differently. But if you’re in the sales game, you better get used to it, because rejection is part of business.

Here is my advice in dealing with rejection:


• Don't take it personally. You shouldn't consider yourself a failure if you get rejected. You have to remember that the person isn't rejecting you; they're rejecting what you're selling. The sooner you move on, the sooner you'll make another sale.

• Leave the door open. I always thank the person I’m calling on because they took valuable time out of their day to meet or talk with me. They could call you back. And don’t forget about referrals.

• Never say no for the other person. Don’t anticipate rejection because then you won't even try, let alone give your best effort. Prospects can read defeatism in your voice and body language. If you don't believe in what you are selling, how can you expect a prospect to buy it? Keep your confidence up.

• Analyze every failure, but never wallow in one. I always want to know why people say no, and I'm not afraid to ask. Think about what you could have done differently. Then record it in your post-call notes. Next time, you'll be better prepared.

• Know your percentages. Unless you’re new to sales, you soon realize how many calls you have to make for each sale. Always remember that your next sale could be just around the corner.

• Remember past achievements. Look back to your past sales and business successes. How did you feel? This will help ease the rejection of today.

• Consider the market. Realtors, mortgage bankers, car dealers, and construction companies will all tell you that cycles come and go. That's not a pass to stop working, but rather an opportunity to hone your skills and be ready for better times.

• Take a break. If you're feeling down, do something you like — exercise, read a motivational book, listen to a favorite song. Just don’t stay away too long. And never take a break when you're on a hot streak, only when you’re in a slump.


Two men wrote a book containing a collection of inspirational stories. The two authors figured it would take about three months to find a publisher. What happened next is as inspirational as any of the stories in their book.

The first publisher they approached said, "no."

The second publisher said, "no."

Altogether, they received 33 rejections over a period of three years. So what did they do? They submitted their book to still another publisher.

After 33 rejections that one "yes" launched the spectacular publishing success of "Chicken Soup for the Soul." The "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series has so far sold more than 30 million copies.

Mackay’s Moral: Don’t get dejected if you’ve been rejected -- just get your skills perfected!

Harvey Mackay is a Minnesota businessman and author.

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