Never Take it Personally


If you ask a non-salesperson why she so adamantly wouldn’t sell to earn her living, more than likely she’d say something like, “I couldn’t deal with all that rejection.”  To a non-salesperson, a prospect’s “no” is seen as a harsh personal repudiation, a direct assault upon her sensitive ego—it’s so humiliating.  A master salesperson is apt to roll her eyes at such a comment.  As the gangsters say, “it’s only business”; a master salesperson never feels personally rejected.

I never took “no” personally.  I took responsibility for it, but never personally, even when I sensed a prospect didn’t like me or something I said.  No batter gets a hit every time up and no salesperson closes every prospect she approaches or presents to.  Selling is a numbers game, a law of averages marathon.  My father used to say, “You have to get the noes out of the way, in order to get to the yeses.”  That’s what a salesperson does—gets the noes out of the way, to get to the yeses.  I celebrated victories and got over defeats quickly as I could, usually in minutes, and then it was on to the next.  Yogi Berra, famous for saying, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” just as easily could have added, “but when it’s over, it’s over.”

It’s a free country; everyone has a right to say no.  To take it personally, to hang on to it for dear life, to keep replaying it over and over and over again is to surrender your power to someone who isn’t even a customer.  Why would you do that?  What possible benefit can it bring you?  If you go to your next presentation with that kind of feckless baggage strangling your concentration, you’re allowing a “no” to do double damage to you and your selling career.

A salesperson must have skin thick as a rhinoceros; prospects can be downright insulting at times.  It should go in one ear and out the other.  You’re there to make a sale, that’s all that matters; indulge in anything peripheral to that sacred purpose and you’re being self-destructive.

Never take it personally; it’s only business.

When it’s over, it’s over.

On to the next.

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