It’s Nothing Personal, It’s Just Rejection: Why You Should Never Be Afraid to Hear the Word “No”

Do you take rejection personally? Do you start the negative self-talk immediately after getting rejected? Do you find yourself triggered by rejection and start piling on past rejections in your mind? If you do, you are not alone! Research shows that 90% of our self-talk is negative. Nothing triggers negative self-talk like being rejected.

In the book The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is “Do Not Take ANYTHING Personally.” When Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom was canceled after she came out, she talked about how this book helped her. In her usual funny way, she said, “It is hard not to take the show being canceled personally, since the show is named Ellen and I’m Ellen.” How Ellen handled this rejection is a lesson in resilience we can all use for our own careers. She continues to face criticism on her talk show from time to time, but she doesn’t let any of her stop her.

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Getting rejected in part of life. We get rejected when we ask our parents as kids to buy us something we want. We get rejected when we interview for a job and don’t get it. If you’re in Sales, you know rejection is part of the game. How do you learn to keep going and not take it personally?

Tip One: Let go of being afraid of the word NO

Getting a no now does not mean no forever. Children learn this at a very early age and keep asking for what they want from a toy or candy store. When you’re in sales if you are afraid of “no”, you are afraid to ask for the order. When you reframe your mind to see no as the starting point of a negotiation, then you let go of your fear. Tell yourself “Let the Games Begin” when you hear a “no”. Follow up the “no”, with a question such as what would it take you to reconsider?

Tip Two: Never Reject Yourself

When I was selling advertising for Conde Nast and a client would say to me no we are going with another brand, I would ask myself “Could another Salesperson have gotten a yes? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t they see why my solution is the best choice?” None of this negative self-talk is helpful. Instead of taking the “no” personally and rejecting yourself and your skills, remind yourself you are good at what you do. Don’t let one “no” define your day, month or your year.

If a client says “We like you but not what you are selling” it is so easy to agree with them and reject your product or service. Don’t do it! Never agree with their assessment of your product not being good enough or the best. Instead reframe it to yourself, that right now this is not the best fit for them and that it is a great fit for others. Remind yourself of the other sales you have made.

The best way to hit the reset button after a “no” is to call someone who bought from you and ask them how they are enjoying the new car or home. After giving a keynote to Land Rover and Redfin, the real estate firm, I gave this tip and they found it really helped them let go of getting a no. When you do this, you get reignited in your passion and it is great customer service. Just calling someone to ask how they are enjoying the product takes all the pressure off of you. Many times, it results in a referral or testimonial!

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Tip Three: Get Back Up After The No

When I was giving my TEDx Talk Be The Life Guard Of Your Own Life I was able to hear Bonnie St John’s TEDx on resilience. Despite losing part of her right leg at a young age, she went on to win medals at the Paralympics in downhill skiing wearing a prosthetic leg. She told the story that each skier had to go down two different mountains.

The winner would be the person with the fastest combined times. She went down the first mountain and came in first place. The second mountain was much icier and everyone was falling. Sure enough, she fell too and got back up and finished that race. She ended up with the 2nd place medal. While she had been the fastest skier she was not the fastest at getting back up after falling.

How fast do you get up after a no?  After giving keynotes and workshops to real estate companies, I noticed that the top performers let go of a “no” much faster than other agents. Other agents say they let rejection go, but they keep talking about it in the office for weeks after and it impacts their energy and passion for the next potential sale.

To recap, the key to rejection is to not take it personally. Let it go and never reject yourself. Then let go of the fear of hearing a “no” and remember “no now is not no forever.” Get back in the game as fast as you can after you hear a “no.” If you apply these tips to rejection, your attitude and your revenue will soar!

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