One of the most most difficult challenges of running a small business is learning how to cope with the rejection that’s so common when you’re in sales. And did we mention? When you run a small business, your full-time job is sales (along with everything else). Here are seven ways to accept the rejection and move on to the next opportunity.

Rejection is a normal part of business—and it rarely has anything to do with your skills.

Not accepting that rejection is a common occurrence when running a businesses leads many new owners and managers to feel like they’re not good at sales. Or worse, it makes them believe they should avoid sales activities.

In a word, that would be disasterous.

Don’t despair.
Anyone who has the passion to start a business or the skills to have a leadership role in one is almost always good at selling what they really believe in.

Rejection is usually not about your skills, it’s more about timing: Specifically, your pitch may not be at the time when a potential customer is actually focused on trying to solve a problem for which you have the solution. Wrong time=rejection.

Here are seven ways to improve your timing—to position yourself in a way that makes the person rejecting you today, want to call you next week.

  1. Be the connector in the market you serve—the one who always seems to be aware of who needs help and who can provide it. A person who usually avoids taking calls that sound like sales pitches will pick up when you call—if you’ve offered invaluable help in the past. Even if every conversation doesn’t involve a sale for your company, it sets up a future opportunity because you have a reputation of providing help and insight to those who will likely be making a purchasing or contract decision.
  2. Convert sales hype into research help.The main reason cold calling is a waste of time is because it’s 100 percent factors that a sales person cannot control: the timing of a customer’s journey. The most likely indicator that someone is in the market to purchase something is when they are actively researching a topic. That’s the promise of search advertising. So look at your sales materials. Are they designed to help a customer research the factors they need to consider before purchasing something? Or do they assume the customer has already made the decision to buy, and is trying to decide between you and your competitor?
  3. People don’t buy products or features.They buy outcomes and solutions. Use a little theater of the mind in your sale pitch—help the prospective customers see your product or service successfully meeting their need. Have you ever seen a TV ad for a state lottery? Even when the chances are a million-to-one that the viewer will win, the message is always focused on some perfect new reality. (Sidenote: In your case, a customer’s chances for success should have much better odds.)
  4. Successful sales presentations begin with the phrase, “Let me tell you a story …” Don’t drone on with statistics and lists of features. And leave off that list of awards and employee credentials. A more compelling approach is to weave those credentials and awards into a story about how another customer sought a similar solution and how you were able to help them provide a solution.
  5. Don’t play on the field chosen by your competition. No matter how special you are, customers have other options and choices. In nearly every situation, competitors will have different strengths and weaknesses. Your challenge is to establish the field where the competition for the sale or contract takes place. Is the competitor larger? Then compete on person-to-person service. Does the competitor have more types of services? Then compete on specialization.
  6. The prospect has heard it all.You know that phone call script you’re trying to use to get an appointment with a potential buyer? She heard that pitch an hour ago. If you purchased her name from a lead broker, she heard it 15 minutes ago. Be original and honest and find a way to talk with prospects that doesn’t require a script.
  7. If you don’t believe in the effectiveness of your product, you’ll never convince a customer.How can you sell something you don’t believe in? You can’t. Being effective at sales is as simple as demonstrating the kind of empathy that lets customers understand their needs. They know if you are being honest. They know if you are truthful when claiming to have experienced the success your product can provide. They know if you are not.

Photo: Thinkstock

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