Reject Rejection!

Craig Harrison
February 7, 2013 — 1,358 views  
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Sales and service are about success. Yet between every success you’ll likely experience rejections. It comes with the territory. Every salesperson I know professes to eat rejection for breakfast, and every service rep I know avows not to take rejection, insults and hostility personally, yet how do the best do it best?

What keeps sales and service pros from taking rejection personally, losing confidence and letting it affect their daily outlook? I asked these questions and more to the Queen of Rejection, author Dr. Elayne Savage. It wouldn’t surprise you to learn it can stem from childhood! The good news: We can reject rejection, and in doing so maintain a strong self-image and even stroke our sales self!

In her bestselling book Don’t Take It Personally, Dr. Savage teaches the importance of developing multiple tools to overcome rejection. These tools fit will in our sales and Service toolkits. Did you know self-talk, humor and even a stack of paper clips (!) can bolster sales pros when the road gets bumpy?

Shoot, Someone Triggered Me!

Sometimes a sales rejection hurts far worse than it should. Dr. Savage reveals that past pain in our lives, sometimes from as far back as kindergarten, results in old wounds being reopened. Teased in school? Chided repeatedly by a parent? Experienced loss growing up? We carry pain from each such experience forward with us; a sales or service rejection may inadvertently trigger negative thoughts and feelings first engendered when we were young. Savage tells us that if we’re conscious of it we might say “here we go again!” If not, we may not even realize we’ve been triggered. If you’re feeling particularly rotten after a recent rejection see if it reopened old wounds from your past. Recognizing this begins to let you put it in perspective.

Eschew the 3rd Degree for 360 Degrees

I asked Dr. Savage how we can create distance between a sales rejection and our self. “Step back. See it as an adventure. Live with it. Walk around it. Don’t dwell in it.” Savage explains that dwelling on rejection allows it to carry over into our other actions and activities.

When we can reject rejection it actually fortifies us. Savage coaches clients to “step back, walk alongside yourself, gain some perspective, and allow space to make new choices about how you will handle the rejection.” She jokingly told me “compartmentalizing isn’t always bad!”

The Reward of Clipping

In football clipping is punishable by a fifteen yard penalty. In sales, clipping has its rewards. Dr. Savage encourages us all to use a stack of paper clips to represent the successes of each day. She trains sales and service pros to begin each day with a stack of paper clips on their desk. For each success, remove a clip from the first stack and build another stack (for successes) alongside it. Close a sale or service call successfully? Transfer a clip. Gain a referral? Add another one. Help a colleague? Clean your desk at the end of the day? Find a way to work smarter? Clip-clip-clip! Each success, even the small ones, builds a pattern of success and reminds us of the progress we’re making. This minimizes the impact of periodic rejections. They become but minor blips among clips!

Humor Combats Tumors

Another way to minimize rejection’s impact on us is through humor. If you can laugh at it, it takes some of the sting out of it. Your ability to laugh at rejection puts you back in control. They say humor is simply tragedy plus time. The humor inherent in rejection may not be apparent at first. Your wound may be raw, or you may be too immersed in it to see the humor…at first. The moment you can laugh at a rejection know that the healing has begun. And again, it allows for gaining new perspective.

I’ve sold everything from jewelry to joke books to biscuits-in-a-basket and know from experience that I can write the postscript to any rejection I receive. I can choose to hear “no” as not yet, not now, or that they weren’t good enough, or ready or worthy enough yet for me.

Man and Ma’am of La Mantra

Dr. Savage ( reminds us all that self-talk is key. Your mantra has a power all its own. One or her coaching clients utilized Pig Latin to put the X-Nay on the Nizz-Nay-Sayers. Others simply say Touché when rejection rears its ugly snout. The power is yours. You too can reject rejection. Make Savage proud: be resilient, stand tall and step into your power. Take that!

Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison is a professional speaker, corporate trainer and consultant who helps sales and service professionals express their excellence through exemplary communication and customer service. Call (510) 547-0664, e-mail [email protected] or visit for additional learning tools for success.