Rejection is defined as, “the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc” and has destroyed the careers of more automotive salespeople than any other single thing. Look, no one likes rejection. Whether it’s in business or your personal life, rejection is everywhere, yet very few get the point where they are not affected by it. I once had a guy tell me, “I could never be a salesman, I hate the rejection”, I thought to myself… life is gonna be tough for this guy. Life is filled with rejections, the promotion you missed, the girl that said no, the test you failed, the job you didn’t land, rejection is everywhere. So you need to learn how to deal with it. In automotive sales you’re facing customers on the phone, in person, and over the internet all day — and if you want to rise to the top of your store you will need to learn how to manage the effects of rejection.
The first thing you must understand is that rejection is not a sales issue. It is part of the human condition. It is an experience or illusion created by the person experiencing it. If you don’t like rejection, well that makes you more normal than abnormal. I have never met anyone who likes rejection, even those who know how to handle it. Also, if you think you can avoid rejection, sorry, you’re on the wrong planet.
I think the experience of rejection as an emotion is actually what happens when a person has a low responsibility level in getting things done. “I didn’t get what I want, so now I am going to feel sorry for myself, label it as rejection, and act like a victim.”
Ain’t nothing happens to you; it’s happens because of you!
How you handle rejection is the key. Try to avoid it and you are doomed because you will withdraw. If you start to think less of your product or offer after being told no, then you are being sold on someone else’s agenda and ideas. When you’re told “no,” or “not yet,” or “we bought from someone else” have you personally been rejected? Of course not. You will only feel this thing called rejection as a negative sensation if you do not take full responsibility for the situation and its outcome.
Here are 6 other techniques I use to get through the rejection cycle:
1. Be rational about rejection.
When I am told “No” I don’t equate it with rejection; I interpret it as “Not Yet”, meaning, the buyer is just not ready to close right now. But don’t give up! Most buyers will say a number of times before they say yes. So be rational about rejection, the buyer isn’t rejection you, just what you have presented to them. For example, in a recent mystery shop campaign that we did with a major OEM, more than half the time we found that the customer was on the wrong product. Your customer will seldom say yes to a product they do not feel will solve their problem… how could you expect them to? So one way to eliminate rejection is to provide information, and ask GOOD questions so you can be sure the buyer is presented something they can actually say YES to.
2. Figure out what the rejection is really about.
Think about this… how many deals have you closed when the buyer said “We are not buying anything today”, or “We need to think about it”, or how about “I need to talk to my spouse”… EXACTLY.
Buyer’s say “No” when they don’t know what else to say, or don’t want to tell you the real reason they can’t say “Yes”. A true professional knows that under every “No” there is a “Yes”. So find out the reason for the “No”. Next time a customer tells you they need to talk to their spouse before buying, agree with them, then ask “I understand, let me ask you, what would you do if your spouse says no?” If the customer says they would not buy, find out what the spouse would say no to… the color, the model, the payment, the down payment, etc? 9 out of 10 times, the buyer will come out with the REAL reason they “need to talk to their spouse”.
3. Have your pipeline so full rejection becomes a relief.
Think about a day when you were dead all day, no ups, no appointments, no phone calls. Then, the one appointment at 4:30pm that you had been looking forward to all day cancels… BOOM, rejection shows its ugly face. You feel let down, defeated, and likely HATE the car business. Now imagine this… it’s noon, you have 2 deals on the board and four appointments back to back from 1pm-5pm… oh yeah, and you are double booked at 4pm. When one of your 4pm appointments no shows, do you feel loss or relief? See how this differs from the first example?
Rejection is only felt by those who rely too much on too few opportunities.
4. Don’t be discouraged or get emotional from rejection.
Getting discouraged or riding an emotional roller coaster as a sales person will KILL your productivity. One trick that I used to help myself get over the emotions associated with rejection is I assign a dollar value to every customer interaction. By doing this, I am able to place a dollar value on every time I speak to a customer. For example, let’s say you talk to 150 people in a month, and that month you sell 20 cars and make $10,000. Divide the commissions by the total amount of customers that you spoke with ($10,000/150). In this case every customer you spoke to regardless of what the outcome, was worth $67 to you. Now… if you knew that I would put $67 in your hands for everyone you spoke with… how many people would you talk to in a day? See what I’m saying?
5. Benefit from strong personalities.
The stronger the buyer’s personality, the more you want them as a customer… I am serious here. The tough buyers tend to be the most loyal once convinced. The more difficult the buyer is, the more difficult it is for your competition to get in front of them as well. When a customer gets strong with you, bone up for the challenge. Remind yourself you have a great opportunity to show that you are a truly exceptional professional who is different from everyone else in the market. You will not cower to their bravado, you will not feel rejected and run scared. Stick it out, maintain your composure and positive attitude, and be persistent until the customer does the right thing… they do business with you… and trust me, they will respect you more for this.
6. Become a master closer.
Above all, the best way to handle rejection is to become a master closer. Nothing gives me more confidence in a deal than knowing I am able to handle ANY objection or curveball that comes at me in a deal. Think about how different your perspective would be if you knew… I am talking 100% certain that you could handle EVERY objection that a buyer could ever have. You would feel unstoppable, your confidence would be through the roof. People would call you cocky and arrogant because you “thought you could close anyone”… accept you actually could.
The master closer does not feel rejection, he knows how to handle it. The master is prepared for anything, like a well-trained soldier going into battle. Bottom line, show me a salesperson who cannot deal with rejection, and I will show you an amateur who spends little to no time training, preparing, and refining their craft and too much time complaining and making excuses. Start an objection log so that every time you hear a customer objection, you log it into your book, then go home and figure out closes for every objection that you log. As an amateur salesperson I did just that daily. I logged objections, I videoed myself in negotiations, I role played daily, and that without a doubt made me the professional I am today. Today, I have negotiated over $500 million in deals with some of the most shred and savvy businessmen you will meet, and the reason I never feel rejection, is because I apply the principles above every single day. They worked for me and trust that they will work for you too.