Life is full of ‘no’s, especially when you’re selling something. But how we react to these ‘no’s can make a big difference. This guide will show you how to turn rejection into a chance to learn and get better.
Being turned down by a customer isn’t always the end of the story. It can also give us a peek into what the customer really wants.
It’s possible to deal with rejection gracefully so that we can leverage the relationship in the future or grow from it.
And we’ll look at specific ways to do this in this post.
1. Acknowledge the rejection
How we respond to a ‘No’ matters. You don’t want to display dejection, surprise, or other reactions that can make your potential customer uncomfortable.
They already feel uncomfortable rejecting your offer, and it places a burden on them to deal with the unpleasantness. The best way to respond is to remain calm and acknowledge the rejection. This diffuses the situation and also keeps doors open where you can continue the conversation with your audience.
Acknowledging the rejection and accepting it without taking it personally is a graceful and empowering move. Not that it’s easy to do.
However, if you prepare yourself to deal with rejection, you’ll find it easier to manage hearing ‘No, I’m not interested’ with confidence and carry out the next steps.
2. Know the difference between a definitive rejection and an objection
When we hear a ‘no’, our first impulse may be to think that the customer has rejected us completely.
However, this isn’t always the case. The customer may have questions or objections they are looking for answers to before deciding. It’s important to ask questions, listen to your customers’ answers, and understand their issue.
For example, let’s say that you pitch an annual subscription plan to a customer, but they reject it. It’s possible that they have an ‘objection’. For example, they do not want to invest in a tool for a whole year. In this case, offering them a quarterly subscription plan or even a free trial could help you to close the deal.
However, you must be willing to listen to them if they’re not willing to commit for a year or show discomfort.
When you realize that there’s just an objection standing in your way and not a definitive ‘No,’ then you can come up with alternatives that can bridge the gap and allow the customer to make a purchase.
3. Practice active listening
Whether a customer rejects you or not, it’s essential to practice active listening. This means that you must pay attention to the customer and focus on understanding their needs.
Active listening is removing your personal internal chatter and biases and taking in what the customer is actually saying. Focusing on understanding them allows you to find common ground and create a stronger connection with your customers.
It’s also about giving your audience your full attention and removing distractions like your phone or thinking about other things during a conversation. You should also never interrupt to put your own point across and try to answer their questions promptly.
It means accepting what the customer has to say and seeing things from their point of view. When you listen as opposed to just hearing, you’ll connect with your audience better and understand nuances that you might otherwise miss.
You’ll notice body language, tone of voice, and words that they use, which can give you insights into their wants or concerns.
Listening actively is important for dealing with rejection gracefully because it allows you to take a step back and understand why the customer has rejected your offer or proposal. Your customer will also note the fact that you listen and will appreciate your extra effort and respectfulness.
4. Thank the customer
As disappointed as you might be with a ‘no’, it’s important to thank the customer for their time and feedback.
Thanking them acknowledges that their opinion matters, and no matter how hard it can feel at the time, this is essential for maintaining a good relationship with your customers.
It can also help to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding between you.
Thanking the customer is a sign of appreciation and builds trust that can help you to maintain the relationship in case they need your services in the future.
5. Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback can be beneficial when you’re dealing with rejection. It lets you get an idea of what went wrong and find areas where you could improve.
Whether it’s improving your sales pitch or retooling your product, feedback can give you valuable points on how to do better in the future.
And even more difficult is accepting feedback as legitimate and valid – so you can learn from it and grow.
Feedback can also help you understand the customer’s needs better and create a product or service that meets them more effectively in the future. It takes practice, but learning to turn feedback into gold is one of the greatest skills you can develop as an entrepreneur or salesperson.
6. Stay in touch
Even if the customer has rejected your offer, you can stay in touch with them.
Put their name and contact information on a list of people who have expressed interest in your product or service. Keep sending them updates (with permission) about new features or improvements you make to your product so they know it’s evolving.
You might even want to reach out again after a few months and let them know that you’re still interested in working with them.
Keeping in touch doesn’t mean bugging the customer or pushing for a sale. It’s more about staying present so they remember that you exist, and when they do need your product or service, they’ll think of you first.
7. Reframe ‘No’
I recommend reading ‘Go for No! Yes is the Destination. No is How to Get There.’ by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz for more ideas on how to reframe rejection.
The book reframes the word ‘No’ as a good thing.
It looks at rejection and closing sales as a numbers game and helps you understand that getting rejected is part of life. And the sooner you go through rejections, the sooner you get to that one customer who is going to say ‘Yes!’ to your services or products.
In this way, reframing ‘No’ helps you stay motivated and keeps your goal of closing a sale in sight.
Deal With Rejection Gracefully to Win Loyal Customers
Dealing with rejection gracefully is essential for building a strong customer connection.
It also helps you boost your skills as a salesperson and avoid burning bridges.
I’ve shared several tips in this post that will help you manage rejection without losing composure. You’ll find that customers will remember you and refer you to others or return to you in the future if you treat them with respect and understanding.
So keep these tips in mind when you’re dealing with rejection, and you’ll be able to close more sales and build a positive professional image.