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Your Prospect Just Won't Budge? Here Are Three Ways to Handle Rejection in Sales

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Handling rejection in sales


For B2B salespeople in the manufacturing market, experiencing rejection from a prospect is rough. A simple "sorry, we can't move forward with this offer" from a prospect can equate to week's worth of lost time and effort for the seller.

So, how should you handle rejection from a potential prospect?

Fortunately, there are several easy steps you can take to make handling rejection in sales a more straightforward process.

1. Plan for Rejection

Even the best salespeople don't close 100% of deals. If you expect all your prospects to accept an offer at some point, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

Familiarize yourself with common reasons prospects in your industry might have for rejecting an offer. For example, if you're selling drill bits to manufacturers, manufacturers may reject bits that don't meet a certain quality or hardness threshold. Think about how you would handle a prospect saying, "Your bits don't meet our quality guidelines." What follow-up questions would you ask? How could you try to meet the prospect's expectations?

Have strategies laid out for the rejections you're most likely to experience (or already have experienced). Having a step-by-step process for addressing the prospect's concerns that can lead to rejection will help you convert prospects into sales. Tools like IndustryNet can help you understand a prospect's industry better.

2. Accept that Sometimes, "No" Means "No"

Plenty of sales and marketing gurus will try and sell you on the idea that every rejection can be turned around.

False. Sometimes, handling rejection in sales comes down to accepting it and moving on.

If you work full-time as a salesperson, someone will inevitably ask you to pitch a prospect who isn't the right client for your product or service. Maybe their budget can't afford you, even with price negotiations. Maybe your product or service can't meet a need the prospect has.

It's just as important to know when to cut your losses as it is to understand how you can turn a rejection around. If a client rejects you, don't be afraid to ask them, "What's holding you back?" or even just a simple, "Why?" Their answer should affirm whether or not you have any hope of making the sale. If you don't, your time is better spent pursuing a new prospect than pouring effort into a deal that will never come to fruition. An industrial database subscription like IndustrySelect can help you find the right clients for your product or service.

3. Try and Understand the Prospect's Perspective

The only reason your prospect hears your pitch is that they have a need or a goal they think your product or service could address.

It can be easy for salespeople to start approaching every pitch the same way. You know your product inside and out, you know all the common rejections and considerations. So, why shouldn't you create a formula?

It's essential to recognize that every prospect will have a unique need they think your product or service can fill. If your pitch doesn't convince them you can help them achieve a goal, they'll reject you.

The best way to avoid rejection in sales is by convincing the client you can help them succeed. So, research their company. How did they do financially last year? How can your product or service help them improve that performance?

Do you have stats from previous buyers similar to the client you can display to prove the success of your product or service? Customizing every pitch to hit these notes will play a crucial role in your success.

Powerful software tools like IndustrySelect can help you understand the exact needs of your prospect and address them during your pitch.

You also need to know how to change your pitch on the fly. If a prospect is working up to a rejection, you'll know.

Try and head them off by asking what, specifically, they need your offer to do. If you can find out their exact needs and position your product or service to address those needs flawlessly, you can turn around most rejections.

Handling rejection in sales isn't easy. But following the tips laid out in this article should make it a whole lot easier.

Want to avoid rejection altogether? Explore common types of sales objections and how you can best navigate them in our Definitive Guide to Overcoming Common Sales Objections


Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.

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