5 Emotional Stages of Being Rejected In Sales

Nobody likes being rejected.

For salespeople to become successful and really kill it in it’s often thought that they need to become immune to rejection.

To embrace it. To chase it!

This is only a half truth.


Being Rejected In Sales


“Go for the no”

In my interview with Andrea Waltz we dive deep into the concept of ‘going for no’.

The basic idea is that unless your prospect has told you “no” to something, you haven’t pushed them hard enough. Your price is too low.

You didn’t offer enough additional services. You didn’t secure the best deal for your business.

I’m not saying you have to upset prospects or ruin the deal that is on the table by pushing even further. I’m saying you don’t know how far you could have gone without seeing a little push back.

Go for the no but don’t take it personally when that rejection comes.

If you do you’re likely to face the following 5 stages of being rejected in sales –



Stage 1 – Denial

We’ve all been there. You have clearly been told the deal is done, it’s over, it’s finished… but you tell your sales manager they’ll close next month.


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Stage 2 – Anger

The realisation that you’ve messed up starts to set in.

Apart from you haven’t quiet accepted that it was your fault… It was –

  • Slow response times from customer services
  • Your product doesn’t quite have the right features yet
  • The competition are giving massive discounts
  • Your product price is just too high
  • Your sales managers an idiot

The more you think about all these little things, the more frustrated you feel, it starts to pile up and you become angry.

To break through this anger you start…


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Stage 3 – Bargaining

Secretly, we get on our knees. We put our sweaty, shaking hands together.

We start to mumble under our breath.

We make a plea to the God of hustle to bring back the deal. To put it back on the table, to pull it out of the clutches of the “lost” folder of our CRM system.

This is the last attempt our brains make at trying to protect us from the reality of what’s really happened.

Next there is only one thing we can do before we move on…


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Stage 4 – Depression

We’re moping. We’re down. We’re [insert random word for being a little bitch].

Our sales manager kindly explains that this happens to everyone – “you can’t win them all” at first. Before they see that you’re not doing any work and then try and snap you back into play with comments like, “man-up”, “get over it” and “just cheer up”.

You don’t want to cheer up.

This stage lasts about as long as it takes for you to realise that you’re going to miss target this month as well if you don’t get on with things.


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Stage 5 – Acceptance

Not every salesman reaches this stage of emotional grief. We lose some of them along the way.

These are the men that were never cut out for sales.

They should have been doctors, lawyers or writers.

Actors, racing car drivers, soldiers.

Any of these careers are more suited to the man that can’t find acceptance in his sales mistakes, take responsibility and step forward, eyes wide open at his next possibility at closing the sale.

Until you reach this point you’re in a battle with your own mind. Make sure you’re the one that wins it.



The prospect is likely not rejecting YOU.

Unless you were being a complete idiot in which case you probably deserve the pain you’re felling.

They were rejecting your product, service, offer or the lack of value you put forward.

Never take these things personally.



Every salesperson faces rejection but not everyone is so bothered by it. Let us know in the poll below if it ever bothers you –

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Does rejection bother you?
Do you get bothered or upset when you face rejection in sales?
I couldn't care less
It sometimes makes me feel a little bad
Yes! It holds me back
Does rejection bother you?
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Will Barron is the founder of Salesman.Red and host of the Salesman Podcast where he entertains hundreds of thousands of millennial salespeople every month. If he isn't recording or editing shows he's racing his RX8 or riding bicycles down mountains.

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