Rejecting Rejection

January 14, 2021

In SDR paradise, every prospect politely answers the phone. You introduce yourself, briefly pitch your product/solution, and they immediately open up. They know about your company, meet all your qualifications, and essentially propose the demo themselves!

Ok now let’s snap back to reality.

Every once in a while the stars are aligned and this selling heaven occurs. More likely than not, most of your days will be strewn with disinterested prospects who could care less about your company or product.

An experienced and successful SDR is far more accustomed to failed attempts at appointment setting and lead qualification than successes. After all, the success rate of a good SDR ranges anywhere from 2-5% on average. That means upwards of 95% of your conversations end in a NO (or at least a “maybe later”).

So it’s safe to say that these reps are comfortable with overcoming the inevitable objections.

What is the one thing we say to rejection?

not today

With this acceptance of rejection as part of the job, let’s touch on some tips to stay positive, confident, and productive through a large deal of denial.

Set a Schedule for Yourself – and Stick to it

It will surprise you how much more efficient you will be if you do things with an order. Organizing your time will lead to a more fulfilling and successful work environment. After all, organized schedules lead to organized results.

Note what time of the day the phone is answered most often and build your calling blocks around that time. Defend these times with your life! Don’t put in the work to see when you should spend time on the phones only to let an internal meeting take precedence.

On that note, use calendar invites to keep you, your coworkers, and prospects on the same page. If you alert your co-workers when you plan to hit the phones, they should know not to book time during those hours. You can block time off yourself or use a tool like Reclaim to do it for you.

Point it, you want to use evidence to create an efficient agenda. The more efficient you are, the faster you can deal with the rejection of one prospect and move on to the next.

Set Smaller + Achievable Goals

My long-distance running coach in high school told me when I was struggling on a ten-mile, hilly run that I would finish successfully if I broke the run into smaller, achievable segments. I would tell myself, “just make it to this mailbox and you’re there”, then, “just make it to the telephone pole, you’re the man.”

While cold calling isn’t as exhausting, I have found that a similar strategy can break up the monotony of rejection.

Instead of utilizing fire hydrants and moose crossing signs, I use quality conversations, email responses, or a specific number of calls to stay positive and motivated. Sales is full of peaks and valleys, and the more you can mitigate the valleys the better.

Take Time to Celebrate Success

When you do see success (whether in your company that means appointments set, closed deals, or demos scheduled) take a moment to congratulate yourself. Eat a celery stick, go for a walk, or share a good joke with a co-worker.

Your ability to stay motivated and positive through an often difficult job revolves around relishing success when it does come. It dulls the sting of future rejection and gives you the motivation to push on.

Treat Each Failure as a Chance to Improve

You’re going to get tongue-tied on the phone. You might get told to take a hike and never call ‘Company X’ again. You might make a phone call with a mouthful of granola and call the prospect by the wrong name (Editor note: that’s suspiciously specific…).

More likely, you will forget a tidbit of information about your product, or encounter someone who you could have done more to push through, but you didn’t for whatever reason.

Do not let any of these experiences become negative ones. Even the best SDRs have those moments. Use them as a learning experience to practice your pitch, internalize information, and stay on your toes. With rejection encompassing ~95% of your day there are plenty of learning experiences to go around. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Sales Development is not an easy job.

It can be strewn with stress, disappointment, and often failure.

Rejection is a burden most people have an extreme distaste for. Due to its prevalence in the world of Sales Development, happiness for an SDR is dependent on embracing this rejection and converting it to a positive force.

Will you?

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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