Down, but Not Out

By Steve Atlas

Early in her career when Julie Jansen, a Stamford, Connecticut-based consultant and speaker with 15 years of sales experience, was told, “You can sell anything,” she set out to find out how and met with a lot of rejection. She had to find a way to deal with it or quit sales. Now she offers these tips for salespeople who must deal with rejection every day:

Take time out to do something productive other than sales. Spend a half- or whole day catching up on administrative or organizational work. Do research or prepare reports.

Talk to a client who likes you, a boss who gives good pep talks, or a senior salesperson who can give you useful advice and understanding to help you move forward and get out of the slump.

Analyze what may have happened to cause this slump. Eighty-five percent of the time, a rejection has nothing to do with you. The problem is with your prospect’s attitude, cares and woes. It’s probably a timing issue. Go back later and you will probably get a better response. Jansen recalls, “When I was a salesperson in the early 1990s, I cold called a human resources officer at a large bank and said, ‘Hi! This is Julie Jansen. I’m selling outplacement services and I’d like to talk to you about it.’ She said, ‘This isn’t a good time to talk.’ I said, ‘When would be a good time?’ She replied, ‘About 2001.’ I felt depressed.

“Three months later, despite my fears, I called her again. She said, ‘Sure, I’d be glad to talk to you. When would you like to come in?’ I went in, had a great appointment and got some business from her. After a few visits, I reminded her of our first phone conversation. She didn’t even remember. I said, ‘It took me three months to get the courage to call you again.’ She replied, ‘I must have been having a bad day.'”

Go back and consider doing something differently. Perhaps a personal note or email may be a way to keep in touch and create familiarity. People buy from those they know.