I always chuckle when I hear sales people complaining about being rejected by what they classify as totally rude behavior. For example, someone hanging up on them or worse yet, not responding to an email they worked on for days just trying to get an appointment. One contact recently asked me about how I handled rejection in my first sales job. Before I could address the question, I first needed to explain the sales position.
My first sales role was during my college years selling cutlery door-to-door. Can you imagine standing on someone’s front porch today with two demo cases of kitchen knives saying to a total stranger that you would like to come into their home for a couple hours and demonstrate what amounted to enough cutting tools to outfit a small slaughter house? Today those products would be classified as ‘edged weapons’ based on blade length and the call to 911 would go out as soon you started talking.
Rejection in that sales model ranged from having the door slammed in your face to the prospect telling you in loud 4 letter words to get off their porch. When that happened, you only hoped the door did not reopen as that was the early indication they were about to exercise the family dog at your expense under a much older version of the ‘fair chase’ concept.
Out running the canine to the car while carrying two steel-laden demo cases was real rejection (and some good evening entertainment for the prospect), but the commission plan made it all work. The electronic rejections we receive today while working 8-5 in environmentally-controlled offices with never-ending supplies of coffee, water, snacks etc. aren’t even worth mentioning.