by Sheryl Tuttle

Does this sound familiar? A new marketer or business development professional is brought on-board to fill up the sales pipeline. A large part of their efforts will be reaching out to prospects, a.k.a. cold-calling. They quickly learn the business. They’ve nailed down the pitch and the value-proposition. They are enthused and they are good at closing sales.

But the pipeline doesn’t fill.

Often it’s the result of not enough effort made in cold-calling. And let’s face it… cold calling isn’t for everyone. There is a great deal of rejection with cold calling, and I previously posted about handling that rejection here. The fact is, the most successful campaigns run about an 85% rejection!

So then, what are your options?

The way I see it there are two options. Option 1 is to keep looking until you find a person that “gets” your business and one that is also good at cold-calling. The upside is that they become fully immersed in your company and its culture. After all, they are an employee. The downside is that they may not have other business development skill sets you seek. Sometimes you get an either/or, but not a both – you find someone with good business acumen, strong business development skills, or someone successful with cold-calling, but oftentimes it is not someone skilled all around. Also, keep in mind that a person spending a large amount of their time on the phone daily calling the same targets with the same message may burn out quickly. Some variation in the day-to-day is welcomed for even the most seasoned of cold-callers. Finally, this option can be expensive as not only do you have the employee salary to consider, but the cost of other employee benefits as well.

Option 2 is to outsource your cold-calling efforts. This option enables you to keep your in-house talent, and frees them to spend more time focused on servicing customers and landing new business. Another upside is that your cold-calling efforts can be utilized when most needed, then turned off when resources become too stretched. In other words, if your pipeline becomes sufficiently full and you want to take a break from those efforts, you can, and without having to worry about laying someone off or assigning them new responsibilities. The downside is finding the right talent. Hiring the cheapest isn’t the right solution as you want to be sure to hire professionals that are comfortable talking to your target prospects on a peer-to-peer basis, and that are skilled specialists that can quickly immerse themselves in your company and integrate fully.

As you can see, both options have benefits and drawbacks. Your company resources, size, budget and culture will often determine what’s right for you.

by Sheryl Tuttle

Everyone faces rejection at various points in their life, but if you are in sales, and particularly if you make cold calls, then you face rejection more than many. It’s a tough job, and not everyone is cut out to do it. Even top producers in sales hear “no thanks” and “not interested” on a regular basis. It’s simply the nature of the job. When calling prospects, you have to weed through those that don’t have interest to get to and find the prospects that do have interest.

Learning to deal with rejection is paramount to a career in sales. It’s important that a rejection doesn’t render you useless, and that the fear of future rejection doesn’t stop you in your tracks.

Here are some important tips to help you properly handle and overcome rejection.

  1. Be polite and thank the prospect for their time. Never get angry at the prospect. While it is unlikely they will be a customer now, nobody has a crystal ball into the future. You could change jobs, they could change jobs, and your paths could cross again. Never burn bridges.
  2. Remember you are not alone. Everyone in sales has experienced rejection, and will experience it again as long as they continue in sales.
  3. Don’t take it personal. The prospect isn’t rejecting you personally, it’s what you are offering or proposing they are rejecting. You’re still just fine!
  4. For every “no” you hear, you are that much closer to the next “yes.”
  5. Get over it – and quickly! Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and get on with your next call.
  6. Focus on your overall goals and don’t dwell on the individual rejection.
  7. Keep a positive attitude and a smile in your voice.
  8. Look at the rejection as an opportunity to improve yourself. What caused the prospect to decline interest? Would more open-ended questions have better engaged the prospect?
  9. Don’t give up.

They say salespeople must be thick-skinned and insensitive, but I disagree. You simply need to practice these skills, have confidence, and not let a rejection affect your self-worth.

How do you handle rejection? Do you have some tips you can share? Please let us know in the comments.