Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2005   by Mark Borkowski

Dealing with Rejection As a Jobber Salesperson

One of the biggest hurdles to successful selling is fear of rejection. So why are so many salespeople in the automotive jobber industry afraid or unable to deal with rejection?

Nobody likes to be rejected. However, the most successful people in business are the ones who know how to deal with it. They intuitively understand that when you are calling on companies or individuals to solicit new business, not everyone is going to want to see you or do business with you. But that does not mean that rejection has to be a part of the process. The key to moving forward is all about how you perceive the situation when you are turned down.

Rejection hits hardest when you are taken by surprise. For example, a flat-out remark such as “I’m not interested” can throw anyone for a loop and cause you to stumble and give up. But what would happen if you were not taken by surprise? My experience shows that when you anticipate that you may not score one hundred percent all the time, you are not surprised by the fact that someone, somewhere, sometime will turn you down.

On the contrary, you will have anticipated some of the objections and prepared effective responses to deal with them. After all, a “no” is often nothing more than a slow yes. Having effective responses increases the likelihood of changing the prospect’s mind, but just the fact that you were prepared puts you in control of the situation. Control is essential. Combining a lack of control with a fear of rejection is like throwing lighter fluid on a flaming barbecue. On the other hand, control creates an environment where you can be confident and effective.

A lot of people recoil at the sound of an objection, even though they’re a normal part of the buying process. How often have you asked questions in order to make an intelligent buying decision? Questions are a sign of interest, and you should embrace them as an opportunity to promote your product and service knowledge. Objections give you valuable insights too. An objection such as “it’s too much money” is often a reflection that the value of what you are offering was not made clear. Anything is expensive when there is little perceived value. If you are clear on the value you bring to the table and you still get a lot of comments on price, you might be targeting the wrong audience. If someone tells you they are not interested, find out why and then respond to their real concern.

An effective response to a question or objection escalates the trust factor, and the faster you earn someone’s trust, the shorter your sales cycle will be. Just look back at the last time a salesperson didn’t have an answer to one of your questions. Weren’t you likely to take a pass? And when someone gave you a terrific answer, and delivered it passionately, weren’t you more likely to make that purchase, or at the very least take less time to make that decision?

It may sound simple, but who said sales has to be complicated? Perception is everything. Even in a worst-case scenario, when the way you handle an objection or question does not result in the customer wanting to see you or buy something, perception is the key. You can look at the situation as a failure, or as a learning experience. If it’s the latter, and you apply what you learned before your next sales call, you will have instantly reduced the likelihood of being turned down a second time.

Self-assessment is key. If a telephone sales call or a face-to-face encounter does not work out for any reason, the first question to ask yourself is “Is it them or me?” If it’s them, move on and don’t let it concern you for another moment. But if the problem lies with you, fix it before the next sales call.

When a sales call is perceived as one big learning experience, rejection takes a back seat.

Mark Borkowski is president of Toronto-based Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation, a brokerage firm specializing in the sale of privately owned businesses. He can be contacted at

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