Don't Take It Personally
Read in 5 min. Does "no" mean they are actually rejecting my brainchild, my sweat and blood and me? How can this be so? That small phrase "Sorry, not interested" - can feel like a knife stuck into the core of our being. How can it feel less personal?
A Consultant from
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Mike is available for projects both virtually and in-person.
Marketing companies say a 1% response rate from a direct marketing campaign is very good indeed. Looked at another way, 99% of those contacted said "no"! I recently attended a marketing seminar where someone actually queried achieving "only" a 20% success rate with their marketing campaign. Needless to say, I, along with many other delegates, wanted to know this person's secret to achieving such a remarkable ratio. I am sorry to say there was no secret. It was doctoring of the statistics. The company did not carry out any proactive direct marketing and therefore only focused on the proposals they made - they enjoyed a 20% success rate. A success rate of 1:5 in some industries is very good for actual proposals made, in other industries it might not be.
What are the facts about rejection? You, your company, your product, your offering, your proposal does not match your prospect's requirements today. The easiest word to say in the English dictionary is "no". It does not involve any thought, any decision-making and, more often than not, saying "no" means you can carry on where you were before being disturbed. (As a lot of people reading this will know, that doesn?t always work with children. They will continue until they get what they want: persistence can pay dividends.) A well-known tyre reseller uses a telephone call centre to obtain new business; they have a ratio of 1:50. That is one positive response for every 50 calls made - 98% rejection, and they actually incentivise those on the phone according to when the positive response is achieved, 22nd call or the 11th call etc. I definitely advocate persistence.
The key point here is that rejection can be caused by many reasons and comes in different guises. Whether it is a "The budget has be slashed and we have nothing left to spend" or a "You're the 15th caller this week trying to sell me ...", there is a lack of desire to change. The salesperson might even say the prospect is blinkered.
More often than not, the saying "if its not broken don't fix it" will cause them to reject you.
TWO POINTS TO LEARN
Soliciting new clients is one of the toughest jobs in business. I am just going to mention two key areas: the cost of gaining new clients, and, "the contact-to-contract ratio" (the ratio of those approached to those won).
How much does it cost in time, wages, mileage, phone calls, preparation, paperwork, repeat visits, revised proposals and entertaining to win one client? If you know exactly how much it costs to go after new clients, and how many you win, the contact-to-contract ratio is relatively easy to calculate. The focus should then switch from a numbers game to one of precision targeting for maximum return. Too many companies use the scattergun approach that annoys most businesses with endless cold calls, emails and mail shots. In contrast the clearly targeted, researched, respected and nurtured are far superior approaches. How much does it cost the prospect to give up an hour of your time? Add to this general disruption and interruption involved in seeing a salesperson that doesn't know your business from a bar of soap? Do you waste your prospective clients time? If you do then that might account for some of your rejections.
GET YOUR EGO OUT OF THERE
We were a small company trying to branch out nationally and internationally during the time immediately after the 2000 crash - an experience rather like trying to push water up hill wearing ice skates.
Our response to questions from potential fund managers became emotionally driven. This in turn meant that direct questions about the ways of doing business were answered by the heart and not by a shrewd thinking businessperson promoting their organisation in the best light.
Once you remove the personal from the situation, you'll find things a whole lot easier. You are talking about an entity, a being a product, a company, not yourself.
Think of yourself, your company as a can of Coca Cola and describe all the good points about your product, the benefits to the purchaser, what is does, how it does what is does, how it differs from the others in the market place, the pricing and so on. Using your best sales skills match the needs of the client to the benefits of your can of Coke. Once this is completed and you can do no more, you have given it your best shot.
Then, if they say "no", you know it is not because they don't like you personally or hate what you have to offer: they drink Pepsi or Fanta.
Think: They may not like my drink. They have not rejected me personally; it is my brand of drink they don't like. I can live with that, I gave it my best shot. Time to move on to the next opportunity without carrying any baggage or excess hurt from the rejection.
Your thoughts matter - more than you can imagine.
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