Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cure fear of rejection

Rejection hurts
One of the major reasons people don’t network is because they’re afraid of rejection. “What if I go and I don’t meet anyone?”, “What if I ask someone for help and they say no?”.

This is a very legitimate feeling. Rejection hurts. As humans, we are wired to avoid pain. It’s no surprise that sales jobs have one of the highest turnover rates. Rejection is an inevitable part of sales and most people can’t deal with it.

Let’s flip that over: most people can’t deal with rejection. That means that if you get good at overcoming rejection, you will get results that most people don’t achieve. There has been research done into the life success of people based on their ability to deal with rejection. What the research shows is The Power of No. There is a direct correlation between the number of times people say ‘No’ to you and your success in life. It makes intuitive sense for salespeople. Let’s say you’re selling an attachment for vacuum cleaners that allows people to shave their hair in the comfort of their own home (yes this is a real product!).

If you knock on 50 people’s doors and 10% of them buy the product that means you’re going to get 5 sales in exchange for 45 door slams. If you knock on 100 people’s doors, you’ll get 10 sales in exchange for 90 door slams. The key success predictor for sales people is how many times they’re willing to get the door slammed in their face.

You are a salesperson
This isn’t just the case for people whose job title is salesperson. The fact is, everyone is selling something. Want a promotion? You’re selling yourself. Want to change people’s attitudes towards climate change? You’re selling environmental consciousness. I would encourage you to start seeing yourself as a salesperson and take on rejection as a badge of honour. Rather than striving to succeed, strive to fail. Strive to get as many people say no to you as you can. Rejection is not failure, it’s part of the process.

Use rejection to boost your self confidence and motivation
Jason Comely has an interesting take on rejection: he’s come up with Rejection Therapy, a game for building self confidence and motivation by getting rejected. The basic idea is to get rejected at least once per day for a month. Players take on rejection challenges: asking something that makes the player feel very uncomfortable. This might be asking for a pay raise, asking strangers if they can take their photograph, selling a product on the street, asking to go on television.

Players of the game have reported that they have improved their self confidence because they are so used to getting rejected that it no longer hurts. What’s more, they find that a lot of the time, the other person will say Yes! Jason managed to double his pay rate by just asking.

The science
This technique has a sound basis in behaviour therapy. It falls under Thomas Stampfl’s Flooding method which behavioural therapists still use today. The underlying principle is that if a person is exposed to their fear for long enough, they will quite soon become desensitised to it.

Your challenge: start getting rejected
If you’re serious about becoming a superconnector, you’re going to have to overcome the fear of rejection. Where this relates to networking is contacting your aspirational contacts. A lot of people will avoid getting in touch with the people on their networking wish list because they’re afraid of getting a ‘No’. My advice is to challenge yourself to get some ‘Nos’. 

How many ‘Nos’ will you get this month?


Anonymous said...

Dear Jeremy, I worry that the late (early?)hour recorded for your various postings may indicate a frenetic haste in your need to evolve and get the news "out there". Posting at 2am etc says "something", I'm not sure what. Ask others. TM Brian D. Bendigo

Anonymous said...

Great blog mate. Over the last year i have realised that even if you get a no from someone, if you approach someone with passion and conviction about what you are 'selling,' they wont forget you in a rush!
Henry F.