Overcoming Sales Rejection: How To Turn Failure Into Opportunity Every Single Time

Overcoming sales rejection is a real challenge for some salespeople. The thought of losing a deal can be absolutely gut wrenching. But let’s focus on winning for a second. 

There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of closing a sale. For me, it’s like winning a poker hand at a table of 8 other players. Sometimes you can have the strongest hand and still lose or you can win with the weakest hand. It’s all about timing and knowing who you’re dealing with. And most of the time, losing a few hands doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t ultimately win the entire tournament.

Don’t Let Sales Rejection Suck The Life Out Of You

For many, it’s normal to doubt yourself when you encounter that one person who rips you apart or when you start to see your numbers drop.

The point in sales is not to be a small fish in the big sea of “many.” Instead, learn how to turn every rejection into a fruitful opportunity.

Here’s how to recover from pitch rejections, use them in your favor, and rock your sales goals.

Related: Embrace Rejection in Sales: 5 Ways to Use “No” to Grow

Are You Sure You Got A Definitive “No?”

Before you go down that road of determining how to deal with sales rejection, it’s useful to ask yourself a few times: Are you sure your pitch was declined?

Sometimes a reply along the lines of “We don’t have the budget for that at this time” actually means just that.

Consider asking when budgets will be reconsidered at that company.  Or, if a reply consists of “we already have a solution,” consider asking them which solution and figure out if their contracts are up soon.

Then simply set yourself a reminder to rekindle the conversation in the future.

In the meantime, stay on their radar by connecting with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, possibly Facebook, and even face-to-face events.

Continue demonstrating your value to the prospect by posting relevant content about your company or showing up at industry events.

I’ve had customers re-emerge and purchase as soon as weeks down the road or even 2 years later.

Side note: What would be considered relevant content?

The most successful rotation of content would be a balance between non-promotional content that genuinely helps your prospect, content that highlights your company’s credibility and authority, and industry-related content that highlights why they need to purchase from you. Even if you never close a deal with them, your efforts will lead to recommendations or word-of-mouth referrals.

How To Turn The Inevitable “No” Into A “Yes”

how to turn no into yes in sales

1. Study Your Sales Approach

There are a few steps every salesperson can take to improve their numbers, like building better relationships and not pitching too early. But at the end of the day, you need to do a lot of self-reflection.

Every sales rejection is a learning opportunity – Explore each transaction in detail to identify what went wrong and what went right. Sometimes, the source of a rejection is related to external factors on the client’s side. Sometimes it’s the result of your competition beating you to the punch or offering a better deal. And sometimes your product just isn’t a match for what your lead wants. You can’t improve your sales if you don’t identify why your pitches fail.

What is your sales conversion rate and your industry’s average? Know it like the lyrics to your favorite song. You might feel like you’re hearing a lot of “no’s”, but that could be normal for your product or service. You can’t critique your sales ability without knowing how it compares to others in your ecosystem.

Know your strengths and weaknesses – How does your behavior impact your sales? Practice your pitches in the mirror, record your rehearsals, and prepare your responses to common objections. Knowing how your voice and expressions change as you talk about different things can help you gain better control of them and improve the quality of your in-person, video chat, email, social and phone pitches.

Don’t be afraid to ask – Did you do a good job highlighting the benefits of your product or service? Did you forget to address points that you usually do? Consider sending a short questionnaire to customers after making successful sales to help identify what factors impacted your sales success. For brownie points, send one to prospects who rejected your pitch too. What’s the worst that could happen? They simply ignore your request.

Take Home #1

Overall, keep your self-examination critical, yet positive. Constructive thinking is productive and keeps you on task. Acknowledge the sales you do make, and learn what distinguishes them from the ones that are rejected.

2. Practice The Most Critical Sales Skill For Closing Deals: Listening!

Get to know your prospects in intimate detail. Know exactly what they are looking for even before they even know it, show how your product or service gives it to them, and be honest and human.

Listening begins before the actual conversation.

Did you know that every company has a TAPE recording of their needs and wants? I recommend listening to it before you do your outreach and have actual conversations. Okay, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not talking about a literal tape.

TAPE is actually an acronym I made up to stand for

Talent, Advertising, Product and Earnings.


Odds are, if a company is hiring their first salespeople, then they might be in the market for a CRM solution, or if they’re expanding their digital marketing team then they might be open to your ad solution. Following the hiring patterns of a prospect company will likely indicate their needs before they’re even aware of it or you’ll catch them right at the beginning of their search.


What is the prospect company featuring in their advertising and marketing? Are they highlighting an event that they’ll be sponsoring or participating in? Grab a ticket! Do they promote their partnership program? Perhaps, they’re in need of your referral and rewards solution. Did they just undergo an M&A? Maybe you need to stay clear for a bit because they’re probably undergoing a challenging transitional period.


Did the company just launch a new product or make major improvements to its existing products? Well, you’re probably too late to sell on your PR services because they already announced the product news. But if you sell a customer support solution, then you might be in luck because the company is likely to get more product inquiries.


Mo’ money, mo’ people. An increase in funding or a good earnings report might indicate growth and expansion. This is your time to swoop in with your talent management and hiring solution!

Every company has a recorded TAPE of their needs and it’s the internet.

Listening is especially important during the actual conversation.

The best way to sell is to actually listen more and purposefully talk.

Build rapport – People will buy from people they like. Genuinely show interest in how their day is going, talk about a common extracurricular past-time, or just crack a joke that lightens the mood.

Ask thoughtful questions – Give the prospect ample opportunity to discuss their business, concerns, and needs. You’d be surprised what you can learn in between the lines.

Paint a happy ending – After listening, show them that their goals can be accomplished with your solution. Be the author of their story.

Don’t be over eager If a price objection comes up, don’t cave and start discounting immediately. Understand first where the price objection stems from and stick by your product’s worth.

Build trust – If a prospect is asking for other good alternatives out there, name a few good competitors. It demonstrates honesty and confidence. But of course be prepared to point out why customers choose you over others.

Take Home #2

Remember that a pitch rejection isn’t always about you. Your offer might be outside your prospect’s budget, or they may have questions you aren’t answering. The more that you analyze your whole sales ecosystem, the easier you’ll find it to identify different types of prospects and your likelihood of making future sales with each.

3. Keep In Touch (Especially When They Don’t Buy Right Away)

It’s surprising how many sales opportunities fall through the cracks due to lack of follow through. Don’t expect sales to happen on the first pitch.

According to HubSpot’s data, 44% of sales people give up after one rejected pitch, but prospects require more than a simple transaction. In fact, 80% of sales need five follow-up interactions. And another 20% will wait 12 months after requesting information about your company before they buy.

If you’re giving up after the first pitch, you’re quitting too soon. When your best pitch falls flat, it’s hard to find the motivation to give it another go, but that might be exactly what your prospect needs.

Need A Quick Pep Talk? Listen To Jeffrey Gitomer’s Thoughts On Sales Rejection

The Final Takeaways

Did you take ownership of elements within your control? Think about every step of the process that fell within your control. Did you drop the ball somewhere? Did you potentially alienate the customer?

Consider the prospect’s position – If there weren’t any big mistakes on your end, consider the prospect.  Did you listen to their entire TAPE? How well did you target them? Were they a wrong fit for the product or service you’re selling?

Nothing major? Relax.

Like I said in the beginning, sales is like a game of poker to me. It’s not possible to win every hand, but you can get to where you consistently win more than you lose. So keep your emotions under control, always be in tune with surrounding factors, and continue playing…I mean selling.

Carol Luong has over 10 years of combined experience with marketing, sales and business development. She is currently in charge of U.S. business development at Leadfeeder, a B2B sales intelligence tool that turns Google Analytics into a lead generator. When she’s not helping B2B companies reach their goals, she’s out helping nonprofits or traveling the world!

Join Us Today

Insider access to the GTM network and the best minds in tech.

Join Us Today

Insider access to the GTM network and the best minds in tech.

Trending Now

You may also like...