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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2016 • Issue 16:01:02

Thicken that skin

It's often said that to succeed in sales you need to have a thick skin. Thus, as a merchant level salesperson (MLS), you must be able to accept criticism well; not become upset if someone slights or insults you; and accept no for an answer, when appropriate, without getting discouraged. Some folks appear to have been born with these abilities, but what if you're not among them? Does this mean you can't make it as a MLS?

"Certainly not," wrote Paul H. Green in Good Selling!SM The Basics. "If you weren't born with a thick skin, there's still time to grow one! The key is to remember that when prospects reject your service or act indifferently, they are reacting to your product, not you. For example, if a prospect says no, that isn't necessarily a reflection of your selling skill. You represent your product; you are not the product. The rejection is aimed at the service, not you."

Thomas P. Reilly of Selling Power magazine echoed this when he wrote, "Proactive salespeople … are able to divorce their egos from the sale. They understand the difference between performance failure and self-worth. The self-esteem comes from healthy self-respect as worthwhile people." He went on to add that proactive salespeople do not engage in negative self-talk. "A proactive salesperson will skip this step and perform a situation analysis to determine what went wrong," he said.

Rely on yourself

One man who has followed a different life path is in sync with the sales pros on this point. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, stated, "As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won't need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others."

Sales trainers Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, co-authors of Go for No! Yes is the destination, no is how you get there, took the notion of rejection in another direction. They believe that in addition to not taking rejections personally, you should welcome, relish and celebrate them ‒ and realize, after all, that the road to yes is paved with nos. They have found that the sooner you stop fearing prospects' negative responses, the faster you'll reach your goals.

And Ben Abel emphasized the need to persist in the face of rejections in the Street SmartsSM article "Rejection: The self-fulfilling prophecy," The Green Sheet, Jan. 27, 2014, issue 14:01:02. "[A]lways remember that each sale is part of a much bigger picture," he wrote. "You will never get every person to buy from you, but with the right approach and confidence in your service you will find the right clients. It's just a question of getting to them. It may take 200 phone calls in one day to get five people to sit with you, but if you gave up after the first 10 rejections, you would never have gotten a single yes."

So don't let rejections slow you down. Learn from them, knowing that if you are knowledgeable and committed, you can thrive in payments. end of article

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