By Andy Carr, COO, Customer Solutions Group

As a salesperson, you have a job that many people would never consider doing. It requires something most people try to avoid at all costs: rejection. For that reason, I often say, “Selling is an unnatural act!” Unless you’re one of the very unusual people who aren’t bothered at all by rejection, you need a strategy to persevere and be successful.

Having worked with sales teams across many industries, here are some strategies I’ve seen:

  • Convince yourself that you are not selling (for example, you are consulting, you are educating, etc.). Unfortunately, this mindset can cause you to miss many sales to people who could be convinced to buy.
  • Believe that you are engaged in a higher purpose (sales people can be successful missionaries, fundraisers, etc.). This, however, is not a possibility for salespeople at most for-profit enterprises.
  • Gain gratification from “the kill” (“Glenngarry Glen Ross”-style machismo). If you use this strategy, your colleagues might be afraid to work with you!
  • Become wrapped up in sales-floor enthusiasm and competition (being part of an exciting team atmosphere). This is common and valuable, but it can be difficult to maintain.

All of the strategies above have issues. But here’s one that’s effective and valuable in most companies: Use a routine process that management monitors and expects all salespeople to follow. A combination of clear expectations and management follow-up goes a long way to help people deal with rejection. This solution, if seasoned with some of the elements above that fit your individual personality, can enable you and many others to succeed in the sales department. If you’re a sales manager, consider implementing it. If you’re a sales rep, suggest it to your manager (or consider moving to a company that uses this strategy).

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