Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Every salesperson faces rejection, sometimes many times a day or week depending on what type of product you’re selling.  I remember to this day, forty years later, losing a bid on a major project.  This was a project that was going to earn me the respect of my boss and my peers.  This project was a game changer and would put me over the top on my quota.  Back in those days, if you had to call someone, you did it from your car window over a pay phone.  I called the customer and asked who had won the bid and found out it was not me.  I was shocked.  I had done everything right.  I had a product that was unique and solved the customer’s problem.  I lost to a competitor who could not touch the quality of my product.  I sat in my car for an hour, unable to adjust to this loss—to my loss.  It was a huge project and everyone was looking at it and waiting for me to get the order.  Now I had to tell everyone that I didn’t get it.
Rejection is such a personal thing for a salesperson.  It’s never the product that’s rejected.  It’s us.  The customer didn’t like ME.  I did something wrong.  What makes a salesperson great is their personal involvement in the sale.  What makes a salesperson successful is their personal involvement in the sale. But once the decision is made, once you’ve done everything possible, everything within your power, and you lose the sale, it has to stop being personal.  It now must become analytical.
I have written in prior posts about the “Debrief” process.  Sit down with someone you respect and go over the process and try to figure out what you did that you could have done better.
I have a firm belief that the salesperson who has the relationship with the buyer wins the order.  The issue is what exactly the relationship is.  The most difficult situation is when the seller (not you)  and the buyer are personal friends.  That’s a hard relationship to overcome.  Superior quality and lower price may help, but often the buyer just tells his friend your deal and if the other seller can meet your deal, you lose.  More and more, personal relationships do not trump a better product at a better price, but there are situations when it does and be prepared for rejection.  The opposite of that situation is, of course, when you have the personal relationship with the buyer.  The real danger here is taking that relationship for granted. FIRST COMMANDMENT OF SALES: NEVER ASSUME YOU HAVE THE ORDER, NO MATTER HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO THE BUYER. The second most difficult situation is when the buyer has already bought your competitor’s products but has no personal relationship with the other salesperson.  We will discuss this in the next post.

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