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5 Soothing Tips for That Burning Rejection

Awkward Networker Guest Post with Dennis Sheahan

Have you heard any variation of the word “no” recently?  Possibly a euphemistic alternative to protect your feelings, such as “love the presentation, but unfortunately…” or “if it were up to me, I’d say yes… but…”?  Rejection is like a curse word in 2018 – a feeling we mutter to ourselves behind close doors, but seldom acknowledge openly in our lives and careers.

This week, I asked sales expert and friend of Awkward Networker, Dennis Sheahan, to explain how he overcomes the natural sales rejections he experiences in his career and how all of us can use these techniques as we sell our ideas, products, and selves throughout the day.


“We do not want to switch to your product at this time.”

“We are happy with our current service right now.”

“We do not have the budget for this project.”

Do any of these sound familiar?  If you have any sales or business development responsibility in your company, then they should.  These are all rejections that I have heard first hand in one form or another.  Dealing with rejection is a part of life and an especially important part of life in sales.

I am a strong believer that how you respond to rejection will ultimately determine your success. As Jason Kelce quoted from Rocky, in his now famous 2018 Super Bowl parade speech:

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

As an expert in dealing with excruciating rejection, here are my five tips to help you take those hits and keep moving forward.

State of Mind

How I dealt with rejection before developing my sales state of mind:

Sales is a mental game.  You must remind yourself that any one sale is not a life or death situation.  Do everything you can to get the sale, but know that it is not the most important event in your life.  This may seem like a strange mentality to some people and definitely does not support the stereotypical “in your face” sales rep.  But this state of mind helps in several ways:

First, it takes the pressure off and allows you to remain calm and relaxed in your discussions.

Second, when you are calm and relaxed, it makes your prospect calm and relaxed.  Nobody wants to buy from a sales rep that is desperate.  Prospects’ pick-up on desperation, and it is a sales repellent.

Lastly, if you are rejected and do not get the sale/deal/contract, it will not crush your will to continue because your mind didn’t determine it was a must-have.

“No” Now ≠ “No” Forever

Whatever your industry, there are a million reasons why your prospect may not want to buy today.  Failing to sell them the first time does not mean they are lost forever.

There have been plenty of situations where I did not make a sale until the fourth or fifth time calling on a prospect.

Persistence is the key to sales and overcoming any rejection.  By being pleasantly persistent, checking in occasionally and “staying on the radar” of the prospect, you can eventually win any business.  That one out of a million reason that the prospect didn’t buy the first time will eventually dissipate, and when it does… there you are!

Keep a Full Pipeline

A sales pipeline is a list of prospects you have met in the past that did not buy.  The keys to an optimal sales pipeline are:

1.) Keep the sales pipeline full

Sales adheres to a simple law of averages.  The more people you meet, the more people you can close for business, which is why Awkward Networker is such an important resource for sales people. [Hand made me put that plug in there – the guy is relentless with his branding.]

It really is that simple.  Half the battle in sales is finding people to meet or people interested in talking about your product or service.  Your ability to prospect (i.e. the act of finding interested buyers to meet) will ultimately reflect positively or negatively on your sales pipeline.

Your goal is to have such a full pipeline that the two or three “yes’s” will outweigh the ten or fifteen “no’s”.