Rejection is Not Failure

When a prospect is rude or abruptly terminates the call or says ‘no’ to your offer, do you feel rejected?

Most reps do.  It is a natural reaction.  But it should only be a short term, momentary thing.  You cannot let it consume you because if you do, you’ll stop doing the things that will build your business and increase your sales. If you let rejection overcome you, you WILL fail.Rejection is not failure. Failure is quitting -Rick Castle

So let’s talk about getting a grip on rejection; about getting additional perspective. Last  week I watched an episode of “Castle” on ABC and while it’s’ basically a light hearted mystery/comedy series, it featured two profound message for sales reps.

In the episode, Castle’s daughter, Alexis, received a rejection letter from Stanford University.  She was absolutely devastated. Her world was ‘at an end’ and ultimately lamented that she was a failure.  She was ready to throw in the towel; give up; quit.  If you’re in sales, you could feel for Alexis and her angst.

Meanwhile, Castle, a successful mystery writer that works with the NYPD solving murder mysteries, tries to help is daughter by giving her a couple of profound thoughts on rejection.

Profound Thought #1: Rejection is Not Failure

Castle says to Alexis, “Rejection is not failure.”

This is a remarkably astute insight particularly for those of us in sales.  Being rejected by a prospect  does not mean YOU failed.  It means the prospect chose not to answer your questions or listen to your presentation or to buy your product or to set an appointment.   The prospect did not reject YOU.  They rejected your business offer for their own reasons.  So while your call objective may not have succeeded, you did not fail. By definition, then, you are not a failure.

Profound Thought #2: Failure is Quitting

Castle then provided a second profound thought.  He said, “Failure is quitting.”

I think he nailed it on this one.  He was saying to Alexis that if she stopped submitting applications to universities simply because Stanford rejected her, then she WAS a failure. Failure is when you don’t give it another shot; when you don’t pick up the phone and make those tough cold calls after you’ve heard ‘no’ a dozen time.   Failure is when you quit or quit too soon.  Failure is a lack of persistence.

Castle tells his daughter that he was rejected 20 times by publishers before his first novel was published (and became an instant success and a millionaire). In fact, he even had his first rejection letter framed and hung on his wall so that he would never forget that success is about  perseverance;  about hanging in there and going the distance.

Sure, the show is fictional but Castle’s message is superb.  Being rejected doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. You’re only a failure when you stop doing the tough things that will bring you success.

Don’t quit.

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