There is a lot of talk in sales, sales development in particular that rejection is a huge issue that can impact sales professionals hugely.

There can be drops in morale, which of course will not help when you’re calling people and trying to make contact with prospects. There is also the burn-out element that many sales or business development reps encounter, with lots of rejection it’s easy to slip into that downward spiral where you’re not motivated and positive at the start of and during your day.

This is clearly a huge issue in sales and I have been thinking about how, why it happens, and how to beat it.

One thing I noticed whenever I receive a cold call and the caller reacts badly to the progress of the call, is that they nearly always have bad data. I was called asking if I had a credit card debt before mid-2008 last week. During mid-2008 I was in secondary school, so quite naturally did not have a card then.

At other times, reps call me asking for an introduction to somebody in my team.

I have no issue at all with doing this, but no sales person is going to use me. One call I remember well amazed me, the caller had looked me up on LinkedIn and even told me that he did so – but my LinkedIn is covered in social selling content.

So surely, if you truly read the profile you would socially connect rather than call me and ask me to introduce you to my CEO. Even if I was OK with introducing upwards, the CEO is the most difficult person in most cases to reach due to their busy schedule.

The Science in Sales

Enter Simon Sinek, who popped up as a suggested video on my YouTube. I know he is one of the smartest people alive, but the 4 chemicals that our brains release he mentions in this talk on YouTube blew me away.

The key thing that struck me was about the chemical Serotonin. My example of when this comes into play is if you were to help an old lady across the street, it’s doing a good deed that produces Serotonin. I immediately applied this to sales.

Think back to my cold caller who wanted an introduction to my CEO.

If I had provided it, he may have produced a lot of dopamine, which Sinek talks about early in the video. Dopamine is addictive, and although can be a useful motivator, relying upon it is not the best way to go about things.

He didn’t do a “good deed” to me, so would not get a hit of serotonin. In the end, he got nothing, but think of how much better he might have felt after doing a good deed to me and warming me to introducing him to a relevant person in my company.

If he warms me up with a good deed, he is more likely to get his end result and go away feeling better with the serotonin produced as a result.

If it really is as simple as that, why do so many sales professionals still practice the methods that in the end, wear them out?

I listen to a lot of sales development content and it’s a common feeling that cold calling is hard graft, hard on your patience and difficult altogether. If that is the case, respect your time as a salesperson is very valuable because of the value you can bring.


I am a big believer in the big impact sales managers and leaders have on the results of the team.

If you have a sales leadership team that is always looking into new ideas, practices, and tools, the likelihood is that you were hired because you fit the mould to join them because you work similarly. If they push you to try new ideas and methods, channels and report back on the progress, you stand a good chance of being a very successful salesperson.

On the contrary, sales leaders who hire for and enforce the traditional sales methods and skills on their team and do not look into the future experience the slow drop off in results from the channels they use.

Cold calls in the 1960’s won, you were the only source of advice if you called somebody so you won the sale. Over the decades that changed, and it is now a widely known fact that over 90% of the buying decision has been conducted online by buyers before they speak to a salesperson.

So naturally, because of this, they see a slow drop off in results from the traditional channels like email and the phone – which is where reps will notice and feel the decline and have to “smile and dial”, or “get on with it and prospect more” when the results are poor.

It sits with sales leadership.

Allow your reps and teams to win, that is exactly what management is. Sports teams do not employ managers to help their players get frustrated and tire out. They are hired to improve the team, drive success and contribute to the overall project.

And the only leg that laggard leaders have to stand on here is that the industries that their teams face are laggards, they are hard people to reach. I understand that, but there is a famous saying…

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

I say think and innovate if your clients are in laggard industries and are hard to reach. If cold calls work 1 time in 100 now, how many times will it work in 1 years’ time, 2 years, 3? Think about other ways or methods to make your team successful – change is a good thing, remember.

Social Selling is an Opportunity

The key thing that separates social selling from the other sales methods and channels is that you must think about the buyer first on social – or it does not work at all.

As my colleague Jack Kosakowski says, think 5x value Vs ask. Give more value so that you have earned the right to ask for somebodies time.

The major advantage about this is that you must carry out the “good deeds” I spoke about earlier on in this post. You need to share content from buyers, share your network with them, refer them business where you can. Become an advocate for them so that they know you, like you and due to your personal brand and authentic approach, are trusted too.

When you do this, you are going to get the boosts of serotonin being produced – because you know you are doing a good deed. You are not interrupting people, which we know sometimes has to be the case but if we can avoid it, I think we would all like to.

That serotonin boost helps to kick out the worries or stresses of work and life as well, it acts as a painkiller as Simon Sinek says in the video. It will strengthen your relationships with buyers, and allow you to feel better in your work so that you are more productive and generally achieve better results.

I know personally, that social selling is very productive for lead generation and keeping top of mind throughout the sales process. But I haven’t felt burnt out or fearful of rejection when reaching out because quite simply, I know I intend to do a good deed and want to do things to the way a buyer would want them done.


Ollie uses social selling every day to learn and develop new ways to create conversations and reach prospects. Outside of the office he's an avid Liverpool FC fan and regularly watches his local football team play or plays pool every week. You can connect with Ollie on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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