Taking The Knocks – Sales And Handling Rejection

There is no doubt that selling and sales management is tough work. In our experience almost half of new sales people give up within their first year and we believe this is mainly due to the high amount of rejections they receive when starting out, and their unrealistic expectations of success/fail rates.
It is always upsetting to see good, keen, able people come into sales roles only to find in their first few months that it takes a lot longer than they anticipated for their first successes to arrive and that it’s incredibly hard work getting there. Just as sports people have learned a great deal from the world of business in professionalising their activity; so do business people learn some vital lessons from the sports field.

In a broadsheet last week, Jonny Wilkinson commented on his performance in the recent Six Nations tournament under the heading ‘My Goal Is To Take The Knocks And Improve’. He went on to say how he expects to take the knocks during the games and to be such a target because of his skills and the threat he poses to the opposition. But he has to take the knocks from the media as well and anyone else who wants to have a go; that also goes with the territory.

There was something else he said that is potentially very powerful; “I just play the game to enjoy it, to try to help my team to win and to improve as a player and as a person” Of all the tips and techniques out there to help you take the knocks and handle rejection, these three elements are quite profound:

  • Enjoy what you do – find the thing that you enjoy most about what you do (your reason for doing it hopefully) and keep your focus on that, then taking the rejection is part of the action and not something to be avoided
  • Make your contribution count – look for ways where you can add to the overall success of your team, handling rejection as part of your role enables you to position yourself to add real value to your organisation – like Wilkinson looking for that drop-goal opportunity
  • Strive to continually improve – realise that it’s only through taking the knocks that you actually develop your skills and ability, this is where you really learn your craft; if you can pick your self up each time and ask yourself ‘ what have I learned that will help me next time’