During one of my laser coaching sessions titled, “The 25 Most Effective Ways to Conquer Rejection,” I came to an amazing realization. Although we had marketed this two-part series to thousands of advisers and agents, only two actually registered.
Was it because today’s advisers and agents don’t have a fear of rejection? No, I don’t believe so. In fact, the fear of rejection is just as much a challenge today as it was over 20 years ago when I started in the financial services industry as an adviser. Perhaps I may never know why we had such a low turnout, but what is more important is the “a-ha” moment I had during the first session.
The two advisers who signed up could not have had more polar opposite experiences in their careers: one was a veteran adviser in his 60s with 33 years of experience; while the other was a woman with less than four years in the industry. What I came to understand was that although they had vastly different ages, product knowledge, communication skill sets and years in the business, they had one very important thing in common: a fear of rejection.
Following my initial session with them, I coined what I now call “The Adviser’s Rejection Spectrum” which says, “No matter where you are in your career path you may be subject to a fear of rejection, however you may have it for very different reasons and consequently you may need very different solutions to overcome it.” The following illustrates what I mean by that statement.
Spectrum No. 1: The Rookie Adviser
I wasn’t surprised when my rookie adviser explained that she was taking rejection personally. She had spent many hours cold calling and had come up against rejection numerous times. That is what her perception was until I explained what she had really experienced.
The solution was for her to realize that rejection is not the same as handling objections which are a natural part of the sales process. Since prospects didn’t know her personally they weren’t personally rejecting her. Instead, they were rejecting the value that they thought she could bring them and they did this by using excuses in the form of objections such as, “I am all set, I’m busy and let me think about it.”
Once she understood this difference, I shared with her three strategies to better manage objections and that’s when she had a paradigm shift, “I can’t wait to try these strategies out,” she said.
In other words, she now had far less fear of rejection.
She now understands the difference between working harder by doing more of what she was doing and working smarter by having a system for when objections arise.
Strategy No. 2: The Veteran Adviser
I was surprised to hear my veteran adviser tell me that although he had spent 33 years working in financial services he had not prospected in the last five years. I was not surprised by the reason why, he liked talking to clients rather than speaking with prospects. He went on to explain that when he would prospect his natural market they rarely wanted to do business with him. He said he found it discouraging to have longtime friends and acquaintances reject him.
The solution was for him to also understand that these people were not rejecting him personally but instead rejecting the value they perceived taking his advice would bring them. He was too busy telling them what they should do instead of asking the right questions to help them come to the conclusion on why they should do it.
In other words, he was trying to sell them his recommendations instead of helping them understand why they should accept his recommendations.
“Wow,” he said. “All I have to do is to learn how to ask better questions so they understand how I can help. Why didn’t I think of that?”
Where are You on the Rejection Spectrum?
As you can see, both advisers were taking rejection personally but each had a different solution for overcoming their fear of it. Can you relate?
At some point in every adviser’s career they develop some degree of a fear of rejection. Don’t wait until it paralyzes you to do something about it, accept that you are on the rejection spectrum and do what it takes to find the solutions to get yourself off of it.
If you read this blog and need help getting past your fear of rejection, email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free complimentary 30-minute coaching session with Dan Finley.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.