In my article titled: "5 Secrets of Successful People", I explain that there are five "success secrets" or "habits" that are shared by all successful people. The first of these secrets is about learning how to deal with rejection.

Typically, when someone doesn't understand what you're presenting or selling, their natural response is to say "no" to the offer, disagree with you, or not believe you. This is true whether you are asking them out on a date, trying to sell them a car, or trying to convince them of your position on global warming.

The word "no" is actually a natural defense mechanism that most people use when they don't have enough information or are confused. Or they may not believe you. They simply don't have all the facts to support a "yes" response. Many times, people won't ask questions to clarify what they've heard because they don't want to look "stupid"! -- so they say "no".

Successful people recognize the difference between "misunderstanding" and real "rejection". Of course, successful people hear the word "no" just like everyone else. But they understand that "no" typically just means "give me more information".

FACT: Successful people face rejection less frequently than most others. Why?

To learn how to deal with rejection, it's critical that the potential "buyer" or listener clearly understands what you're offering. More importantly, it's imperative that YOU understand their needs, desires and problems in order to give them what they want. You can't solve a problem if you don't know what it is. The following steps will help you learn how to deal with rejection and even avoid it!


Before you make your "sales pitch" or present your case, ask qualifying questions to understand the needs, desires and problems of your customer (or audience). This step is foundational in learning how to deal with rejection. Successful people understand that it is critical to get to know their customer first. Yet, most people will just jump right in and make their pitch right after saying hello. As a result, they typically get a "no" response or rejection pretty early in the conversation -- even if the customer let's them rattle on (out of courtesy) with information that's meaningless to their needs.


"Listening" goes hand in hand with asking qualifying questions in Step 1. It's not enough to ask questions of your audience or customer. You have to also listen carefully to their responses. And not just their words!

People give off many other important signals during the course of a conversation through non-verbal cues, including the tone of their voice and body language (posture, attentiveness, facial expressions, eye contact, etc.). These unspoken elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude, especially when the words disagree with the tone of voice and facial expressions. And, most people tend to believe the tonality and facial expressions more than the spoken words.

According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA) in his "Rule of 7%-38%-55%":

7% of interpersonal communication is verbal.
38% of interpersonal communication is voice tone.
55% of interpersonal communication is general body language.

If you miss these, you're missing most of the conversation! The successful people among us get this. Whether naturally or learned, they get it and use it in overcoming rejection. They listen not only with their ears, but also with their eyes.

NOTE: this is what makes communication and "selling" over the telephone or e-mail so difficult. With the telephone, you might pick up 45% of the customer's total communication (words + voice tone). With e-mail you're only picking up about 7% of the customer's total message! (Minimally, this means you should always give your customer a call if you can't meet in person. Never rely solely on e-mail!)


Finally, learning how to deal with rejection involves "tailoring" your sales pitch or presentation to meet the needs that you now understand are important to your "customer". One size does not fit all! If you've followed Steps 1 & 2 above, you will have a good idea of how to shape your presentation to "fit" your customer.


Above, I stated that "successful people face rejection less frequently than most others." The reason is that by asking qualifying questions; listening to customer responses with both ears and eyes; then tailoring their presentations to the customer's specific needs -- they have provided the customer with the information required to make an informed decision. And, in many cases, this results in a positive response!

There you have it. You now know how to deal with rejection.

NEXT STEP: Practice, practice, practice... (And don't rely on e-mail!)

To review all "5 Secrets of Successful People" visit:

Author's Bio: 

John Hanlin is an author, avid investor and investment consultant. He provides FREE independent financial information and advice on his website at