When prospecting, sometimes, no matter how nice or professional you are, the person you are calling on will tell you to “go screw yourself,” scream – “Don’t ever call me again!” say, “It will be a cold day in hell before I ever buy anything from your company!” or, slam the door in your face, have you escorted out of the building, respond to your email with a nasty note, or abruptly hang up on you.
Because you are interrupting people they’ll be rude, short, ugly, and sometimes take shots at you that are very pointed and personal.
Sometimes it’s because you caught them at a bad time – the boss just dropped last quarter’s numbers on their desk and told them that they are a loser with no future – and you called just in time to be a convenient human piñata for their frustrations and self-loathing.
Sometimes they are just miserable assholes.
When you are treated this way you’ll have a tendency to dwell on it. You’ll stop prospecting. Grab a fellow rep, tell them your story and, play the conversation over and over again in your head. You feel embarrassed, angry, revengeful, and a whole host of other emotions that invade your mind and steal your joy. You may even log a note in your CRM to NEVER call them again!
You project your emotions on your prospect and make up a story in your mind’s eye about what they said, did, or thought after they hung up the phone, pressed send in response to your email, or kicked you out of their door. In your mind’s eye you see your prospect laughing at you or fuming because you annoyed them.
Meanwhile the prospect doesn’t even remember you. They moved on the moment you hung up the phone and haven’t given you another thought. You were just a blip – a momentary and meaningless interruption in their day. Trust me. I’ve had prospects scream at me on Tuesday and treat me like I’m their best friend on a Wednesday. Completely oblivious to my previous call. That’s why when people tell me to “never call them again” I call.
It’s like when kids learn to ride horses. If the kid falls off they make them get back on. No matter if the kid is crying, shaking in fear, and saying they won’t or don’t want to get back on the horse. No matter, the instructor forces the kid to get back on. They know if the kid doesn’t they’ll play the fall over and over again in their head, blowing their fear up to the point that they will never get on a horse again.
The brutal truth is that courage is developed in the presence of fear not in spite of it.
It is difficult to regain your focus and keep moving when a prospect is horrible to you. It hurts. It’s all you can think about and talk about. You fantasize about calling them back up and telling them to F@*& OFF! Anger invades your thoughts and keeps you up all night stewing. At times, you completely shut down your sales day as you dwell on your anger, angst, and anxiety. In the worst cases salespeople are so afraid to get back on the prospecting horse that they wreck their pipeline and their career.
I meet salespeople every day who are re-living these transgressions over and over again. In our Fanatical Prospecting Boot Camps the seek company for their misery. All they want to talk about is the “one time a prospect said _____ to them.” They’ve made thousands of prospecting touches but dwell on the one call that went bad.
They waste precious time, energy and emotions beating a dead horse. But, no matter how hard they beat and kick it, the horse will not move. They are living in the past and unable to focus on anything else.
Beating a dead horse is self-destructive. Dead horses don’t trot they rot.
Here’s my advice, when the horse is dead, dismount.
Of course, letting go is easier said than done. Here are three strategies to help you bounce back from rejection.
3 Strategies for Bouncing Back After a Prospect Rejects You
- Harness anger. The real secret to moving on is understanding that anger is just energy and when you harness that energy you tap into a powerful force. In fact, one of the enduring qualities of highly successful people is the ability to turn disappointment, defeat, and anger into unmovable determination. When someone hurts you, your body and mind fill with energy and adrenalin for revenge. Take advantage of that gift of energy to get better because achievement is the ultimate revenge.
- Develop a bounce back routine. Find something that helps you get your confidence back or gets you pumped up. This could be an inspirational quote, podcast, an affirmation, a friend you call, music you listen to, or even exercise. The key is developing a routine that works for you and that will snap you out of your funk and get you back on track.
- Put rejection in perspective. Over the years I’ve developed a simple trigger designed to shake me out of my self-pity when I’ve been slighted or find myself astride a dead horse. Behind my desk is an old index card taped to the wall. The paper has yellowed and the words faded just a bit because I’ve carried that card around with me for 25 years. On the card are four letters.
Fanatical Prospecting is a straight forward, no-holds-barred guide that explains the why and how behind the most important activity in sales—prospecting.