Epic Tips For Handling Rejection in Business Like a Pro

rejection in business

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

How hard is it for you to deal with rejection? For many, consistent rejection can crush their confidence. If you’re anything like I was when I first started learning how to sell, you’re probably finding it incredibly difficult.

If you have experienced a lot of rejection, you have probably felt discouraged and frustrated. As a matter of fact, you may have even felt tempted to give up.

Don’t worry, that’s normal.

However, there is good news. Rejection doesn’t have to paralyze you. It doesn’t have to keep you from moving forward. Over the years, I have learned several different ways to keep rejection from affecting my psyche.

If you practice the tips for handling rejection in business I’ve provided here, you will begin to find it much easier to deal with hearing the word “no.”

10 Tips for Handling Rejection in Business

The Buoyancy Principle

In his book “To Sell is Human,” Dan Pink discusses the principle of buoyancy. Buoyancy is a quality that helps you continue to persevere even in the face of constant rejection.

Success at influencing requires you to keep going even if you hear the word “no” over and over again. You have to be mentally tough.

One of the key factors of buoyancy is interrogative self-talk. Instead of just telling yourself that you can make the sale, you ask yourself if you can make the sale.

You’re not saying “I can do this.” You’re saying “Can I do this?” While this may seem counter-intuitive, interrogative self-talk is actually more effective.

The reason interrogative self-talk is more effective is because framing your self-talk as a question demands an answer. In order to answer the question you’re asking yourself, you will begin formulating the strategy you will use. This increases the odds that you will succeed.

Confidence Poses

One of the negative effects of rejection in business is that it can slowly eat away at your confidence. This can cause serious setbacks when you have to make other attempts to influence.

When rejection threatens to rob you of your confidence, you must act. Literally. This is where confidence poses come in. Confidence poses consists of a series of movements and poses that communicate confidence and charisma.

According to Amy Cuddy in her famous TED Talk, your body language can actually influence the way you feel and how you see yourself. When you adopt a confident posture, you will begin to feel more confident.

The great thing about this tip is that it’s so easy. You don’t need anything special to do it. Just take 10 to 15 minutes and practice your confidence poses and you will begin to ease the sting of rejection. As a matter of fact, if you try this before you actually have to influence someone, it may decrease your chances of getting rejected in the first place!

Support System

When you’re starting your own business, you need all the support you can get. Entrepreneurial pursuits are already stressful and emotionally taxing.

When you add constant rejection to that equation, it makes it much harder to maintain the attitude that you need to have in order to stay motivated. To combat this, you need people in your life that will push you to persevere even when you feel like a gigantic failure.

This means you need to avoid the naysayers. These are the people who want you to be “realistic” about your dreams and goals. They may believe they’re doing you a favor, but they’re actually becoming “confidence vacuums” that are sucking the motivation and confidence out of you.

Don’t surround yourself with negative people. Try to stay away from them as much as you can. If you know other entrepreneurs, it’s best to rely on them for the support you need. If you don’t already know other entrepreneurs, try looking online for networking groups for entrepreneurs.

Don’t Take it Personally

As Michael Corleone said, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” That’s the attitude you need to have when you’re faced with rejection in business.

If your prospect says “no,” they’re not rejecting you personally, they’re rejecting your offer. Yes, I know that you may think your product or service is a part of you, but it’s not. Not to your prospect.

Instead, think of it from a business perspective. Maybe they genuinely don’t need what you have to offer. Maybe they really can’t afford the price. If this is the case, then it’s better that they say no rather than lead you on, right?

Of course, it’s possible that they may be rejecting your offer because they think they don’t need it or can’t afford it. Maybe they’re wrong. If this is the case, then it’s up to you to show them the error of their ways! Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

This brings us to the next point. . .

Rejection in Business Isn’t Always Permanent

The word “no” isn’t always forever. You shouldn’t give up just because your prospect isn’t jumping on your offer right now. The conversation doesn’t have to be over after a rejection. It’s possible that it just isn’t the right time.

Instead of throwing in the towel, try to find out what is needed to get to a “yes.” Maybe the prospect just needs more time. Maybe there’s a hidden objection that you need to uncover.

Regardless of the situation, your job as a salesperson is to find out what conditions are necessary for the prospect to accept your offer. This can be done by asking good questions and being patient.

Identify Areas of Improvement

One thing that will make you feel better about rejection is the idea that you are in control of the situation. Instead of just assuming that the prospect’s decision was beyond your control, try to identify areas where you could have approached the sale better.

Chances are, there are some things you could have done to gain a more favorable result. Perhaps you didn’t ask the right questions. Or maybe you didn’t anticipate the prospect’s objections.

Figure out what you could have done better, and it will increase the chances that you will get the sale next time. This can greatly improve your confidence.

Listen Carefully (Know Why You Were Rejected)

Don’t just take the prospect’s rejection at face value. If you earned the right to make your pitch, then you’ve earned the right to know why your prospect said “no.”

If the prospect isn’t ready to take the action you desire, then find out why. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to take the direct approach and ask them what is keeping them from accepting your offer. Listen carefully to what is being said so that you can figure out your next step in the process.

Knowing the real reasons why you were rejected will make it easier for you to take the right steps the next time around. This will make you feel better about the rejection and more likely to win the sale next time.

Remember Your Victories

One way to remain mentally tough is to remember the times you have succeeded. Instead of only focusing on the rejection, focus on the times you actually got someone to say “yes.”

There’s something you must understand when you are attempting to influence: rejection is a part of sales. You can’t avoid it, but you can make it easier to deal with.

When you focus on your victories, it enables you to put things into perspective. The fact that you were rejected this time doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get anyone else to say yes.

This is why it helps to think of times when you succeeded. It helps you stay motivated.

Get Rejected!

The best way to become immune to the effects of rejection is to get rejected! If rejection is something that scares you, you can conquer this fear by facing it.

The more you get rejected, the easier it will get and the more you will learn. There have been people who have desensitized themselves to rejection by exposing themselves to it. In this way, you can keep rejection from discouraging you. It will no longer impact your psyche.

You want to be able to deal with rejection? Get rejected.

Find Your Grit

In her TED Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth discusses the importance of grit. Without it, you will continue to get rejected.

Grit is that quality that empowers you to keep going regardless of failure, setbacks, and challenges. It keeps you motivated even if you hear the word “no” over and over again.

If you become a “gritty” salesperson, you will learn from your rejections and continue to improve. In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Carol Dweck identifies two distinct types of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

The person with the fixed mindset assumes that their abilities and skills are set in stone. They are unable to move past their current skill level no matter how hard they work.

The person with the growth mindset understands that the only way to have true success is to be willing to dig deep and work for it. A growth-minded person puts in the work necessary to attain the level of success they desire.

According to Duckworth, a key component of having grit is a growth mindset. Be a growth-minded entrepreneur. It will make you more influential.


Becoming a master influencer means understanding that rejection is a normal part of the process. Even the greatest salespeople suffer rejection in business on a regular basis.

Dealing with rejection is a challenge that everyone deals with when they are learning to become better salespeople. It can be dangerous for any influencer. If rejection is allowed to discourage you for too long, it could impair your performance when you continue to attempt to influence others.

If you use the tips for handling rejection provided here, you will conquer your fear of rejection and learn how to become a more successful persuader. As time goes on, rejection will become much easier to deal with.

Soon – rejection won’t even phase you, and you will become a better salesperson.

Rejection Photo via Shutterstock 16 Comments ▼

Jeff Charles Jeff Charles is the founder of Artisan Owl Media, an Austin-based content marketing agency that specializes in helping professional service firms increase their influence and earn more clients.

16 Reactions
  1. Thanks for an encouraging article! Great tips!

  2. Hello Lisa,

    No problem! I’m so glad you liked the post. Thanks for the comment.

  3. This is a helpful article. As business owners and entrepreneurs we experience rejection all if the time. This article reminds us how to deal with it in a way that makes us stronger and leads to better service to our customers.

    • Hello Seibert,

      I’m glad you liked the article. You’re right, everyone in the business and entrepreneurial world is going to experience rejection over and over again. It’s not the rejection that matters, it’s how we respond to the reject ion that matters. When we respond to rejection the right way, it enables us to better serve our clients. It really does make us stronger people.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Listen to constructive criticism which will always help you grow. Don’t take it personally. Some people like to outburst with negativity it’s really their thing. As the saying goes you cannot please everybody.

    • Hello MonBanez,

      You’re absolutely right when you say that nobody can please everybody. It’s impossible to appeal to every single person that you are trying to influence. The best thing to do is to keep moving forward and deal with those who are willing to hear what you have to say. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Thanks for sharing this advice on facing rejection in the business world. I agree that it is important to maintain confidence, even when you feel like you are getting rejected frequently. And if you are getting rejected frequently, it might be a good idea to get some business advice to see if you could do anything better. If there is anything you can do to make your pitch better, you need to do it!

    • Hello Delores,

      I love how your comment focuses on the idea that we should use rejection to make ourselves better. That’s the exact attitude we need to have when we are turned down.

      Since rejection is inevitable, it’s important for us to have a healthy attitude about it. Seeing rejection as an opportunity to improve is the healthiest thing we can do.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

    • It is important to remember that today’s rejection will not last. If you call that person again, he will probably be in a good mood and you may get a ‘Yes’. The key is to not give up.

  6. thanks for your article

  7. I think that rejection is quite common not only in business but also in other parts of your life. It takes practice. The more you get used to it, the easier it gets.

  8. Thank you for the article. Im a furniture business owner and my gifts are more for serving and creating. I find it difficult to close sales sometimes because I feel it would be too pushy. Either you like it or ya dont. Im trying to work on this as its my weakness. How do you overcome rejection from a family member? I know its not personal but it really can be when you are trying to grow a business. It really did give me a push though. I re-evaluated my business and strategy. When you aren’t given a chance at all, it makes it personal as well. I realize I sound too sensitive but Im trying to be honest. I quietly competitive and looking for ways to grow with or without the support.