How to respond to a sales rejection email

Posted December 4, 2017

Sales people know all about it: the word "no."

In fact, it's a near-constant aspect of their lives. Every day, reps are faced with rejection after rejection after rejection.

Eventually, this rejection can start to wear on reps. Even the most experienced and skilled salespeople get upset at hearing "no" every once in awhile.

The difference between good and great salespeople, though, is that great salespeople understand that rejection isn't the end of the road -- it's just an opportunity for a different response.

If you're looking for a way to improve your sales department and make your reps more resilient, adaptable and productive, this post can serve as your starter guide:

Understanding the Root of Rejection

First things first, let's acknowledge that getting a sales rejection email is normal. In the world of outbound sales, in fact, it's part of the process.

There are dozens of reasons customers might reject a sales email. Maybe they don't understand what the product is, maybe they're not in the market at that moment, maybe they don't trust the source, or maybe they simply need additional information but aren't asking for it.

One of the biggest things that reps do wrong, though, is that they don't take the time to understand where customers are coming from when they reject a sales pitch.

This, of course, leads to misunderstandings and a dangerous tendency to take things personally. If sales reps are going to respond well to rejection emails, the first step is to understand the customer's point of view.

Here are a few steps that can be helpful in the process:

  • Acknowledge the Rejection. Good salespeople aren't disrespectful. This means they understand the rejection, acknowledge the "no" response and start seeking a different way to connect. By making it clear they understand the customer's first response, your SDRs immediately position themselves as more trustworthy and approachable than they might otherwise be.
  • Provide Additional Context. In some cases, the rejection comes from the fact that the customer simply doesn't understand what your firm is looking for or how your product can be valuable to them. At these times, it's important to refocus the situation and provide more context.
  • Show Interest. Most leads feel like issuing a "no" answer will result in a total lack of interest from the rep. When you turn this on its head, though, surprising things happen. With this in mind, train your reps to dig deeper, ask tough questions and find ways to connect with leads. When it's not always about the reason for the rejection, the focus falls more clearly on the person on the other end of it, and great things can happen.
  • Ask for a Different Contact. Maybe the reps are being rejected because they aren't contacting the right touchpoint within a company or organization. In these cases, apologizing for the miscommunication and asking for the correct contact is a smart way to move forward.

Using Templates to Get Past the "No"

Once reps understand the root of a rejection, the next step is getting past it. Templates are a great way to do this. Convenient, easily customizable and ideal for use with sales automation software and other sales enablement tools, email templates are a fantastic way to reach even hard-to-reach customers.

For best results, craft templates for each version of "no" your reps hear, including "not interested," "I'm not in the market" and "Not the right person."

Don't give in to the temptation to overdo these emails -- instead, keep them short, sweet and to the point. In addition to making them easy to customize, this also reduces the likelihood that they'll overwhelm your customers and helps ensure high response rates each time.

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

During the sales process, it's easy to get bogged down in the details, and understandably so -- agents are trying to produce a certain response from customers, and customers are trying to look out for their own best interests.

When this happens, SDRs need to take a "big picture" approach. In addition to allowing SDRs to reroute a conversation to shared ground, "big picture" thinking also makes it easier to avoid areas of unnecessary conflict and confusion and focus, instead, on the mutual goal of solving problems. It can also help SDRs book more qualified sales meetings.

Empathy is a major component of this "big picture" thinking. By empathizing with the client's viewpoint and actively seeking out places where your SDRs might be able to help or offer creative solutions, it's easier than ever before for SDRs to build friendships while also making sales.

Reframing Rejection

In the world of sales, rejection happens. It's more than just a good metaphor for life, though, it's also an opportunity to forge a deeper and more meaningful relationship with leads, as long as SDRs understand how to translate and alter rejection accordingly.

By implementing these tips on your sales engagement platforms, using smart templates in sales automation software and utilizing things like automated sales dialing to provide more information on every interaction, SDRs can easily improve their close rates and succeed in creating more meaningful relationships with leads at the same time.


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