Today’s post comes to us from Harvey Mackay.  Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times #1 bestsellers Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.

Harvey’s books have sold 10 million copies worldwide, been translated into 37 languages and sold in 80 countries. He writes a nationally syndicated column for United Feature Syndicate.

Harvey is also a popular and entertaining business speaker and was named one of the top five speakers in the world by Toastmasters International.


“How are you getting along?” asked the old timer of the new sales rep. “Not so good,” came his disgusted reply. “I’ve been insulted in every place I made a call.”  “That’s funny,” said the old timer. “I’ve been on the road 40 years. I’ve had my samples flung in the street, been tossed downstairs, man-handled by janitors and rolled in the gutter. But insulted—never!”

We all deal with rejection differently. But if you’re in the sales game, you better get used to it because rejection is—and always will be—part of business. If it was easy to succeed in sales, everyone would want in. Rejection helps knock out the weak.

In doing my homework before corporate speeches, I often talk to the company’s head of sales and ask what skills are necessary for a good sales rep in their industry. Dealing with rejection is always on the list because not everyone can handle all the rejections that are necessary in order to be successful. Too many people just give up. They don’t realize that in order to get the yeses, you must hear the nos.

Here is my advice in dealing with rejection, because Lord knows, I’ve had plenty over my career:

  • Don’t take it personally. You shouldn’t consider yourself a failure if you get rejected. You have to remember that the person isn’t rejecting you; they’re rejecting what you’re selling. The sooner you move on, the sooner you’ll make another sale.
  • Leave the door open. I always thank the person I’m calling on because they took valuable time out of their day to meet or talk with me. I’m grateful because you never know if your paths might cross again. You might revisit them down the road. They could call you back. And don’t forget about referrals.
  • Never say no for the other person. Don’t anticipate rejection because then you won’t even try, let alone give your best effort. Prospects can read defeatism in your voice and body language. If you don’t believe in what you are selling, how can you expect a prospect to buy it? Keep your confidence up.
  • Analyze every failure, but never wallow in one. I always want to know why people say no, and I’m not afraid to ask. Was it me? Was it my product? Price? Think about what you could have done differently. Then record it in your post-call notes. The next time, you’ll be better prepared.
  • Know your percentages. Unless you’re new to sales, you soon realize how many calls you have to make for each sale. Always remember that your next sale could be just around the corner. Make that extra call before you call it a day.
  • Remember past achievements. Look back to your past sales and business successes. How did you feel? This will help ease the rejection of today.
  • Consider the market. Realtors, mortgage bankers, car dealers, and construction companies will tell you that cycles come and go. That’s not a pass to stop working, but an opportunity to hone your skills and be ready for better times.
  • Take a break. If you’re feeling down, do something you like—exercise, read a motivational book, listen to a favorite song. Just don’t stay away too long. And never take a break when you’re on a hot streak, only when you’re in a slump.

Two men wrote a book containing a collection of inspirational stories. The two authors figured it would take about three months to find a publisher. What happened next is as inspirational as any of the stories in their book.

The first publisher they approached said, “NO.”

The second publisher said “NO.”

The third publisher said, “NO.”

The next 30 publishers said, “NO.”

Altogether, they received 33 rejections over a period of three years. So what did they do? They submitted their book to still another publisher.

The 34th publisher said, “YES.”

After 33 rejections that one “Yes” launched the spectacular publishing success of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” written and compiled by my good friends Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. The “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series has so far sold more than 30 million copies—all because Canfield and Hansen had the willingness to fail over and over, but to keep going until they succeeded.

Mackay’s Moral: Don’t get dejected if you’ve been rejected—just get your skills perfected!

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Thanks Harvey for the inspiration as we all start this week!