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How to Bounce Back After Getting Rejected on Prospecting Calls


It’s a fact of life in sales. You are going to get rejected on prospecting calls. How you bounce back after getting rejected is often the difference between success or failure on outbound prospecting blocks.

You are an interruption

When prospecting, sometimes, no matter how nice or professional you are, the person you are calling will reject you:

  • “Go screw yourself!”
  • “Don’t ever call me again!”
  • “It will be a cold day in hell before I ever buy anything from your company!”
  • Slam the phone down in your face.
  • Respond to your email with a nasty note.

Because you are interrupting people, they’ll be rude, short, ugly, and sometimes take shots at you that are very pointed and personal.

Dwelling on Rejection

When you are treated this way, it is natural to dwell on it. You’ll stop prospecting and play the rejection over and over again in your head. You feel embarrassed, angry, and revengeful. These emotions shift your mindset to negative and steal your joy.

Then you project your emotions onto your prospect. You make up a narrative about what they said, did, or thought after they hung up the phone. In your mind’s eye, you see your prospect laughing at you or fuming because you annoyed them.

Meanwhile, the prospect doesn’t even remember you. They moved on the moment you hung up the phone and haven’t given you another thought. You were just a momentary and meaningless interruption in their day.

Trust me. I’ve had prospects scream at me on Tuesday and treat me like I’m their best friend on a Wednesday. They are completely oblivious to my previous call. For this reason, when people tell me to “never call them again,” I call.

Getting Back on the Horse

It’s like when kids learn to ride horses. If the kid falls off, the instructor makes them get back on the horse. No matter if the kid is crying, shaking in fear, and saying they don’t want to get back on the horse, the instructor forces the kid to get back on. The instructor knows that if the kid doesn’t remount, she’ll play the fall over and over in her head. She’ll blow her fear up to the point that she will never get on a horse again.

Facing your fear and making the next call is one of the keys to bouncing back after getting rejected. The brutal truth is that courage is developed in the presence of fear, not in spite of it.

It is difficult to regain your focus and keep moving when a prospect is horrible to you. It hurts. It’s all you can think about and talk about. You fantasize about calling them back up and telling them to F@*& OFF! Anger invades your thoughts and keeps you up all night stewing.

At times, you completely shut down your sales day as you dwell on your anger, angst, and anxiety. In the worst cases, salespeople are so afraid to get back on the prospecting horse that they wreck their pipeline and their career.

Stop Beating Dead Horses

I meet salespeople every day who re-play these rejections on a constant loop in their heads. In our Fanatical Prospecting Boot Camps they seek company for their misery. All they want to talk about is the “one time a prospect said _____ to them.”  

They waste precious time and energy beating this dead horse. Yet, no matter how hard they beat and kick it, the horse will not move. It’s dead!

Beating a dead horse is self-destructive. Dead horses don’t trot, they rot. Here’s my advice: When the horse is dead, dismount.

Of course, letting go and bouncing back after rejection is challenging. Here are three strategies to help you:

3 Strategies for Bouncing Back After Getting Rejected

  • Harness anger. The real secret to moving on is understanding that anger is just energy and when you harness that energy and channel it in the right direction, it’s powerful. This is why one of the enduring qualities of highly successful people is their ability to turn disappointment, defeat, and anger into unmovable determination. Therefore, when someone hurts you, take advantage of that gift of energy to fuel your persistence and determination.
  • Develop a bounce-back routine. Find something that helps you get your confidence back or gets you pumped up. This could be an inspirational quote, podcast, audio book, an affirmation, music, or exercise. The next time you face rejection on a prospecting call, use this routine to snap you out of your funk so you can get back on track.
  • Put rejection in perspective. Over the years, I’ve developed a simple trigger that helps me put rejection on prospecting calls in perspective. Behind my desk is an old index card taped to the wall. On the card are four letters – NEXT.

Fanatical Prospecting was named The Greatest Sales Book of All Time by ringDNA. See what the buzz is all about. Download two free chapters of Fanatical Prospecting here. 

About the author

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…

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