Rejecting Rejection

An Abridged SDRs Field Guide — By Jack Carenza

In SDR paradise, every prospect politely answers the phone. You introduce yourself, briefly pitch your product/solution and immediately they open up. They know about your company, meet all your qualifications and essentially propose the demo themselves…Ok now let’s snap back to reality. Every once in a while the stars are aligned and this selling heaven occurs. This dream scenario might take place once a year if you’re lucky. More likely than not, most of your days will be strewn with disinterested prospects who could care less about your company or product. An experienced and successful SDR is far more accustomed to failed attempts at appointment setting and lead qualification than successes. That being said, they are comfortable with overcoming the inevitable objections.

What is the one thing we say to rejection? Not today.

With this acceptance of rejection as part of the job, let’s touch on some tips to stay positive, confident and productive through a large deal of denial.

Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. It will surprise you how much more efficient you will be if you do things with an order. Organizing your time will lead to a more fulfilling and successful work environment. Notate what time of the day the phone is answered most often and call every day at that time. Use calendar invites to keep you, your coworkers, and prospects on the same page. Realize that Monday mornings and Friday afternoons are extremely inactive times on the phone. Use evidence to create an efficient agenda.

Set smaller, achievable goals within the obvious objective of procuring a lead. A long-distance running coach of mine in high school told me when I was struggling on a ten mile, hilly run that I would finish successfully if I broke the run into smaller, achievable segments. I would tell myself, “just make it to this mailbox and you’re there”, then, “just make it to the telephone pole, you’re the man.” I have found that a similar strategy can break up the monotony of cold calling and rejection. Instead of utilizing fire hydrants and moose crossing signs, I use quality conversations, email responses, or a specific number of calls to stay positive and motivated.

Take a bit of time to celebrate success! When you do achieve a success (whether in your company that means appointments set, closed deals or demos scheduled) take a moment to congratulate yourself. Eat a celery stick, go for a walk, share a good joke with a co-worker. Your ability to stay motivated and positive through an often difficult job revolves around relishing success when it does come.

Most importantly, use each failure as a catalyst for self-improvement. You’re going to get tongue tied on the phone. You might get told to take a hike and never call Company X again. You might make a phone call with a mouthful of granola and call the prospect by the wrong name. More likely you will forget a tidbit of information about your product, or encounter someone who you could have done more to push through, but you didn’t for whatever reason. Do not let any of these experiences become a negative. Some of the best SDRs I have worked with have those moments. Use them as a learning experience to practice your pitch, internalize information, and stay on your toes.

Sales Development is not an easy job. It can be strewn with stress, disappointment and often failure. Rejection is a burden most people have an extreme distaste for. Due to its prevalence in the world of Sales Development, happiness for an SDR is dependent on embracing this rejection and converting it to a positive force.


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