An elephant never forgets, but a sales rep should be able to forget easily.

Reps shouldn’t forget sales process or talk tracks or other vital sales information, but they should be able to quickly forget the many times they’ve faced sales rejection.

The constant and often harsh rejection of sales can slowly wear down a sales rep’s confidence and drive to win. If reps focus too much on the negative side of sales, it can start to affect their work and their win rate.

That’s why reps need to have a short memory when it come to sales rejection. Here’s how to bounce back after even the most negative sales calls, and go into every new interaction with a positive attitude.

Don’t Take It Personally

As Michael Corleone said in The Godfather:

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”

For sales reps, especially those new to the job, rejection can sometimes feel all too personal. If someone says they’re not interested in buying, yells at you for calling them, or tells you you’re wasting their time, it can be tough not to take it personally. Reps have to learn how to cope with angry, annoyed, or indifferent prospects every day. Sales reps must be able to power through even the harshest rejection with self esteem and confidence fully intact.

Just remember, this rejection isn’t personal! The person you’re calling may be having a bad day, or they may have no power within the organization, or they may just not like your product. It doesn’t always reflect poorly on who you are as a sales rep, but is really more about what’s going on with the prospect. You just have to remind yourself that even if you do everything right, you may still fail to convince a prospect to buy.

Reflect Back

While rejection isn’t personal, that does not mean you shouldn’t learn from your mistakes or lost opportunities. After every rejection you face, look back and think hard about what caused you to lose the opportunity. You may have made a serious error during your call with a prospect, or while giving a demo, or while trying to reach a decision-maker. Even the best reps make mistakes, but the top reps in the business are always learning and improving their skills.

If you did make a mistake, you need to understand what went wrong and why. Do a film review with your manager and get their expert advice to help you understand what happened. Then, ask them to coach you so you can improve your selling skills. Make sure you’re prepared for the next time a similar situation occurs. Instead of letting a lost deal ruin your confidence, use it as an an opportunity to become a better sales rep. Learn from the mistake and resolve to never make it in the future.

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Move On

Now that you’ve learned from the rejection, you can truly forget about it and move on. Take the lesson from the loss, but leave all of the negativity behind. Whether you need to take a break, go for a walk, get a coffee, or even have a few beers — do what you have to in order to move past this disappointment and get back to working at full capacity.

Part of being a great sales reps is a selective memory that focuses on the triumphs and minimizes the failures. Sales reps simply cannot let rejection derail their determination to be the best and hit their sales goals. You can’t allow even the biggest losses to hurt your confidence in your selling abilities. If you truly believe you’re the best and work hard to achieve your goals, you will be able to accomplish more than if you constantly doubt your own abilities.


Forget about the rejection, move on, and focus on the next great opportunity coming down the sales pipeline.

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