Ask any salesperson and one of their biggest fears is being rejected. In fact, cast a wider net and many people fear rejection in other areas: Asking a girl on a date. Asking your boss for a raise. Finally writing that novel. Speaking in public actually ranks higher than the fear of dying! These trepidations and others can paralyze even the most ambitious person.
SBR’s inside and field sales training programs dedicate time to overcoming objections, but we’re always looking for new tools and techniques to support this common challenge. Fast forward to the 2015 Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, and we got the new perspective we were seeking: Jia Jiang, author of “Rejection Proof”, brought new light to the sales game that can help salespeople in any industry.
In Jia’s case, he teaches us that rejection (hearing “no”) is indeed non-threatening. The more you experience a “no”, the closer you are to a “yes”. Jia’s experiment illustrates that rejection can be overcome because it is both constant and a numbers game. It’s a matter of shifting your perception.
Easier said than done? We’ll show you how Jia came to this ah-ha moment.
Jia and Sharon at Sales 2.0 in San Francisco.
Jia described how he left a corporate career to become an entrepreneur but soon found himself discouraged by the constant rejection from investors. Feeling the common pangs of fear that come with rejection, Jia could have become crippled by this fear. Instead he entered himself into “Rejection Therapy” where you intentionally force yourself to be exposed to rejection. Eventually, the therapy says, you recognize that the very thing you fear (begin rejected) is not hurting you. Jia took to blogging his daily experience with this intention
“I am going through 100 days of Rejection Therapy, aiming to make 100 crazy requests to get rejected. My goal is to desensitize myself from the pain of rejection and overcome my fear.”
His list of requests was comprehensive, oftentimes risky (fly a plane), bold (ask to make the safety announcement on a flight) and bizarre (get a haircut at Pet Smart). Jia showed a video clip of going into Krispy Kreme and asking an employee to create the Olympic symbol out of donuts. No doubt a crazy request. Not only did the employee produce a beautiful rendition with six accurately-colored rings, but she also gave it to him for free…and with a hug!
The moral here that the more you experience a “no”, the closer you are to a “yes” means that anyone can produce positive results and overcome their sensitivity to rejection. You might even come to enjoy the process. In the sales arena, actively inserting ourselves in encounters that push us to be desensitized and know that we’ll come out much stronger is key. This is an important lesson for all the salespeople and executives that are fearful of the sales encounter.
After listening to Jia speak we ran over to meet him in person and purchased a handful of books. Top of mind was an Executive that was struggling to get his proposal approved. We asked Jia to write a personalized note to this Leader. As we walked back into the conference room, we pulled back the front cover, which read, “Embrace the “no’s” as much as the “yes’s.” What a great way to approach life in general!