Believe In What You're Selling
There's nothing quite like sales to knock you down!
After a few years in corporate recruiting, I recently re-joined the staffing/search industry. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this line of work, I partner with companies to fill their open roles. Simply put, I get paid to find and recruit top talent. These searches start with identifying potential clients and developing relationships with them as well as prospective candidates.
Now that I am back in this arena, I'm focused on rebuilding my book of business. I am fortunate to have retained some long-standing clients and candidates, but, as anyone in sales knows, you can't rely on existing business. You've always got to be hunting for more. So, you make phone calls. You email. You leave voicemails. You message on LinkedIn. You leave another voicemail, send another email.
Sometimes, when you're lucky enough to get a potential client on the phone, the conversation goes somewhere and you start an actual conversation. Most of the time, though, it doesn't go beyond "hello." You've caught them at a bad time, and they're not interested in even hearing about what you're selling. And you're back at square one.
It's frustrating, this sales thing. I even get down on myself - I try not to take rejection personally, but it still hurts. The ten year old Brett inside me is pouting, "Why don't they like me?" (Let's be real, it's the 35-year-old Brett after a glass of wine.)
As I struggle with my own feelings of inadequacy and rejection, I realize it is not so different from the adversity one faces as a job seeker. Let's look at rejection from this perspective: You see your dream job posted online. You get excited, you know in your gut that this is the role for you. You fill out the online application and hit submit. You hear from a recruiter- they want to speak with you! You have a 30-minute phone interview, during which you learn more about the role and walk through your professional history.
And then... Nothing.
I hear of this happening all the time. I've had it happen to me, too. Frankly, it’s crushing. You might think, "What did I do wrong? What didn't I say or do?" And what's worse is that you'll never know the answer to that, and it's really hard not to take this rejection personally.
But you cannot give up.
Why do I keep doing what I do? Simple: it's because I believe in what I'm selling. I know that I'm good at what I do. I know that my team is dedicated, smart, and talented. I believe, in my gut, that I will do my absolute best to make each and every client happy, even if that means I can't deliver exactly what they're asking. I'm a connector and relationship builder at heart, and I'm lucky to love what I do... most of the time.
Everyday, we must choose to push through these icky feelings of rejection and failure. Yes, pitfalls and blows to the ego will keep coming; that’s just a part of the human experience. But you can't let that derail your mission. You have to believe in what you're selling, you have to believe in yourself: your skills, your experience, that je ne sais quoi that only you can bring to the table. Just because one person or company didn't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.
Next time you’re down, reflect on what makes you you. In business and in life, rejection may not be personal, but you can harness that pain into something positive. Know that you did your best. Own your strengths, act with intention, and trust that the road will take you where you need to be.
So, don't stop applying for jobs, or interviewing, or making those phone calls. The more you believe in yourself, the more your authenticity will shine through and the more like-minded souls you will attract. You’ve got this! (And I do too!)
If I could leave you with one thought, it would be this: We're all selling something; be kind to those around you. You never know how someone might help you, or vice-versa.
What are some of your best tips for staying motivated in the face of adversity? Share them in the comments below.