How To Overcome Rejection And Get Better At Sales
Do you sell for a living? Are you involved in sales personally or through your company? No where is confidence more important than in sales. It can be one of the most challenging areas to master because it forces us up against all of our own insecurities and self-worth questions. Join Dr. Aziz as he interviews Dave Schwendiman, one of the leading experts on sales. You’ll discover why rejection hurts so much, and powerful tools to work around this challenge so you are not held back from boldly meeting prospects, making connections, and asking for the sale. Click below to hear this episode!
David Schwendiman is a world class sales trainer and coach. He has helped hundreds of people overcome their fears and become excellent at creating sales and increasing their income. To learn more about David’s programs and coaching, go here.
Sales Is Important Part of Your Business
Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today is about sales. It’s about how to maximize your sales confidence. And this is a big area because sales is incredibly important and you might is you’re listening and you’re directly in sales then this is especially important for you to hear.
I’m going to be doing an interview with David Schwendiman who is an incredible sales expert. He coaches people on this stuff. He helps people with this stuff. He was incredible in sales. He’s trained hundreds of people on how to be better. So he really knows his stuff inside and out. But, it’s incredibly important to master this part of life for a number of reasons.
One if you’re directly in sales then the better you get at handling your inner game, your confidence, how you approach people in situations that makes all the difference. Because we all know that getting bogged down by rejections or a sense of this person’s not going to want to buy anything anyway when we approach it that way it kills our chances and it leads to a drudgery in a kind of depressing approach to your work. And so it’s incredibly important to get that inner game handled. And also though even if you’re not directly in sales, sales is one of the most important skills because if you ever want to start your own business you have to learn sales.
You might say, well… Hire someone to do sales. Yeah, not right away. And to know how to hire and who to hire and how to train them you got to be good at yourself. So if you ever want to start your own business, sales is important. A lot of people work not at their own business but they work in companies where sales is important. Even if you don’t work directly in sales the ability I mean the skills that you’ll learn through sales and through this interview that I do with David, the inner game stuff applies to so many different parts of life. It applies to certainly dating and relationships but also putting yourself out there for job interviews, putting yourself out there in any way because sales ultimately is putting yourself out there in a big way.
And one of the biggest fears that gets in the way for us is guess what? That’s right. It’s the fear that gets in the way for putting ourselves out in any way which is the fear of rejection. The fear of no. The fear of no and I don’t like you and nowhere does that come up more than in sales and maybe in dating and relationships. So there’s a huge overlap and wherever you are whatever your profession is whatever work you do, this is going to be an incredibly valuable interview for you. And on top of that David is just an amazing man. I mean he approaches life. You’ll hear a little more about his story but just his energy, his enthusiasm, his values, who he is is incredibly valuable as well. So, let’s jump into that interview with David now.
Dr. Aziz: Our guest expert today is Dave Schwendiman. And I’m really excited to have Dave on the show because Dave know a lot about sales and the confidence around sales. And his story is pretty fascinating. He has been kind of throwing himself in to different things into life in so many different ways. Between 2006 and 2011 he started a personal training business which went under after 6 months. He started a construction company that went under after 4 years. He started a software company where the CEO did a hostile takeover of his own company. He’s still trying to figure out how that’s even possible and he left 3 years after starting it. And in 2011 Dave was broke, he was 25,000 dollars in debt with 2 kids at home and they’d sold everything they owned including the family car and at that point he applied for a position as an insurance agent with Farmer’s Insurance and the first month he made 119 in sales from a lady who wandered into his office and then the second month he made 210 by writing his own policies and giving himself the commissions and then from there he just took off. He was determined to not let himself down and his family down and 5 months later he was ranked second in the State of Oregon for Life Sales and the top producing new agent for commercial insurance. And then from 2012 he moved on to district manager, has been training people, was in a higher corporate level training and worked with all kinds of agents helping them become masters of sales. In 2014 he left his corporate job to start his own coaching business focus on helping sales people and he helps people one on one now to reach what he calls unreasonable goals and changing who they are in the inside and the outside. So, Dave just a wealth of experience around sales and how does that work. So, Dave, thanks so much for joining is today.
David: Yeah. I’m excited.
Dr. Aziz: This is awesome. So, there are so many things just from your bio that I could ask you about but one of the things that really struck me is you continually threw yourself into things and you didn’t give up and say, okay, I’m just going to you know take some job that I don’t like. You kept on putting yourself out there and I’m wondering how did you do that? How do you do that?
David: I don’t know that I had a choice. It’s a funny thing where I’m just I can’t stand it’s like an animal being locked up, right? That’s just who I am is somebody I like doing it my own way and it’s something that came up really like I said I graduated from college, I got married right after I graduated, I’m on my honeymoon, I’m applying for all these positions and I read this book. I read Rick Dad, Poor Dad it just lit me up. I thought , gosh I can do it on my own, I can be my own boss and make the money I want to make and live the life I want to live and that just, you know, something inside me kind of shifted then and I just said I’m going to do it. I’m young, I was, gosh I was 26 years old I thought I got the rest of my life I can screw it all up. Obviously from my bio I did and I still have time to rebuild it. So now is the time if I’m going to do something crazy then let’s do it and my wife was behind me. I don’t know if she knew what she was getting into but at the time she agreed and we jumped off the cliff. I turned down my job offers and started that personal training business.
Dr. Aziz: That is awesome.
David: So, I have wanted and dreamed of going back many times into a nice safe job where I can just show up every day, someone else tells me what to do, I don’t have to worry about it. And I tried that or a year and a half and at the end of it I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like it’s the kind of place that will make you go crazy.
David: Yeah. Like, you know what, honestly I had a lot of freedom I literally didn’t have a boss but I couldn’t the suits and the cubicle, you know, just the whole 9 yards, the company-issued laptop. I just couldn’t it. Dr. Aziz: I’m getting itchy. I got to get out of here.
David: It was really it. It was really it. And I thought I was a little bit nuts for leaving. I was on the track to keep moving up. I got 4 promotions in 2 years, my income went up by a crazy amount, all signs were pointing to big things for me and I just had to get out of there. I had to do it my own way.
Dr. Aziz: Is this the most recent one working as a trainer?
David: Yeah. Yeah. It’s my only corporate job I’ve ever had.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. So, I mean there’s so much more I want to keep circling back to you because I think the value of our conversation is going to be some of the things we talked about with sales but if people can just get a sense of who you are and how you live I think that is incredibly valuable for inspiring confidence. Because at the end of the day it’s not about, I mean sure we want to be successful and you are and you will be but it’s the ability to just keep throwing ourselves into life. And that’s part of sales, too. And so let’s explore that. Let’s dive in directly into sales. So, when you were growing your own sales abilities, let’s talk about some of the challenges, fears that you experienced and maybe that you train people who are new to sales, what are some of the main kind of inner fears, blocks that you notice in yourself and others when it comes to sales? We’re going to pause for just a moment take a quick break and then dive back inn to the interview with Dave.
David: Gosh! I’m trying to think of where the best place to even start is. I mean, sales itself has such a negative connotation I mean that’s the job we go to when we can’t do anything else. You know, I got into sales because I literally on my first interview with Farmer’s I had to borrow my brother-in-law’s car to get to the interview. I didn’t own a car at the time. That was really the bottom of it. I thought no one else was hiring me, I’m putting applications and resumes out anywhere and this strict manager was looking for new agents and was willing to take a chance on me so it’s a scary thing and I got into it thinking that it was going to be rough and tried to be the person I thought I was supposed to be. Whenever I do sales trainings I usually either play a clip from or reference Ground Hog’s Day *0:10:29 that Ned character that comes in. He’s a life insurance salesman and just this poking them him in the chest the whole time. That was me, I thought. This is how it goes. You wear a suit, I had a suit, I had my little clipboard I carried around with me, and I would just go and bang on doors and try to get people to buy and it was miserable. I mean that 119 dollars my first month was literally this lady wandered into the office my DM took pity on me and wrote the policy and then just put my name on it so I could get paid something and not have an entire month of cold calling and door knocking that didn’t go well. So the fear is that we’re going to get into this and it’s not going to work and we’re going to end up broke and that almost happened to me, you know. Two months in I was already broke I was literally eating bean burritos for breakfast and lunch everyday so that I could save money I’d buy them at the discount groceries down the road and that’s what I ate just to try and get this thing to go. So every day was frightening, you know. I don’t know if that answers your question but the fear is you’re not going to make it, the fear is that you’re not good enough and that when people tell you no it hurts. It hurts on the inside as much as we’d like it to just be information it’s really a feeling in sales that they are saying I’m telling you no It’s like asking a girl out 10 times, 20 times, 100 times a day and being rejected over and over again you just eventually don’t want to, you don’t want to do it again.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. What’s interesting is the idea and I think you’re absolutely right is that when we get a no it’s in my experience there’s a sense of they’re saying no to me and if I was somehow better or a different person they would’ve sad yes.
David: Yeah. Yeah. And we get into sales with all these big ideas and I was the same way off gosh I’m a good person, people like talking to me, I can make this work. And then all of a sudden it’s not working and you’re getting this overwhelming rejection and it starts to be just this monster. My wife still tells the story about how every Wednesday night I would come home sit on the living room floor and just sit there and be depressed and tell her I couldn’t make it, it wasn’t going to work, I didn’t know what I was going to do and just constantly down like that. It’s a huge roller coaster.
Dr. Aziz: And so the interesting thing is in a lot of areas of life there’s a fear or a challenge is we expose ourselves to a lot of it the fear tends to diminish, we tend to say, hey if you already do public speaking, you know, you get out there and you go to toastmasters and just fid everywhere you can speak and you do it 50, 60 times, you know, the fear might be a lot less and that’s case for people. However, there’s something interesting in describing here where you would go out, you know, 10, 20, I don’t know how many interactions you’d have in a day and instead of it dissipating it actually becomes more and more painful. What do you think is going on there? Why is it different with sales?
David: Gosh! That’s a great question. I was just working with a guy on this yesterday and the more I worked with other people on it the more I can see it. What I think happens is that personal piece where we take it with us, we carry that with us so that one rejection we’ll now feel a little bit less then. And we get up the guts and we put ourselves out there again and then we get hit again and we feel a little bit less again. And it so just compounds where it’s such I guess, I read a book a while back that describes sales as being one of the best ways to figure out exactly what other people think of you, you know. There’s nothing hidden there. People are going to tell you exactly what they think of you. So you’re just putting your heart on your sleeve every single day and hearing no it just compounds to where you just start believing the story that you’re telling yourself over and over again with that rejection of I’m not good enough, I’m really not good enough. If I was in any way good enough somebody would’ve said yes by now. I must really suck at thus. Versus public speaking or anything else you can still get up there and give a speech and you’ll get feedback but you can almost feel yourself improving. In sales the only way that you know if you’re good is if somebody says yes. And at 2 months in and I had no yeses I was starting to wonder or I didn’t wonder I knew I wasn’t any good at this, this wasn’t working.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. So let’s talk about that. You said something in the bio about how you transformed how you’re selling.
Dr. Aziz: So tell me about that. What was the turnaround for you?
David: You know it’s a turnaround I learned in college. I was not a very outgoing person at all. Dating for me did not happen in high school and it continued to look like that was going to be my path in college and I’ll tell a bit of a story. I think there’s a good moral here. I met this guy who was just amazing like outgoing like life of the party, I’m in this, I live in this cooperative house with a bunch of guys and we kind of hit it off over Golden Eye that old Nintendo 64 game we’d play that all the time. So this guy was always going out with girls. And what I started to do is I started to watch him and I started just kind of like talking to him like, what do you say to a girl when you first meet her. He said, oh I said this, this, and this, I thought, okay. And then I said, how do you dress? And he says, well you see the kind of clothes I buy. In I way I started, I did the outside in transformation where I just started copying him and it started working. And I found the things that I liked that really kind of fit my personality did more of that and I started applying that in different areas of my life and about 2 months into sales I realized I could probably do the same thing here. And so I went online and I found a list of the top performing agents in the company and I called them up and I still have the legal pads I keep them just for the sake that they’re so fun to look at where I would literally call and if you were one of them I would’ve called you up and said, Aziz, my name is Dave I just started with Farmer’s I’m doing horrible ad you’re very, very good according to what I see on the corporate website. Would you tell me when you started out how did you get going? And I just took notes and I literally copied everything that they said. If they said I did this kind of marketing and I walked in here and said I would do that exact thing. And it did two things for me. Number 1, I’m doing something else has used and it has worked and the piece on the confidence side was if it didn’t work it wasn’t my fault. If it didn’t work it was me, they gave me a bad idea and so I needed to find something else. So it not only gave me better tools but it took the pressure off of me to be the one who had to be good at sales. I didn’t have to be good I’m just going to play this role and if it works then I got good advice. If it didn’t work I’m going to call the next person and see if their ideas work better.
Dr. Aziz: Let’s pause for just one more moment take another quick break and be right back right after this. That is awesome and it just highlights the story about your friend in college with women and these people who were top sellers it just shows the power of modeling. And I think we all do ourselves this service by looking at someone who’s exceptional in a way that we want to be and create this barrier between us, this vaporous barrier like, oh geez there are different species . And when you do what you’re doing you just break down the barriers and all of a sudden you realize that we can replicate what people do.
David: That’s what I had to do is I had to realize, I think part of that came up from playing sports as a kid where when we play sports I grew up as a gymnast no one knows how to do gymnastic inherently. Our coach would tell us try this and then we would do it, if it didn’t work he’d say, okay let’s tweak it a little bit let’s do it this way. And taking that same mentality into sales, you know, I don’t feel like a terrible person if I couldn’t get a handstand in gymnastics. Okay something’s not working here, what’s wrong? And for some reason sales would make a story out of this. So I really just took that and like I said I made it their fault. I completely took no responsibility for my performance if this isn’t working it’s that guy I called yesterday and his advice was bad and it’s on him. But at the same time I freed myself up to just, like I said, verbatim I would do exactly what they told me.
Dr. Aziz: Wow so you got some strategies, some ideas, did it shift the way when you were in conversations with people? Did it shift the way you interacted with those people and how you showed up and what you said?
David: It did definitely. So first it was more I wrote down in my notes here for thinking about what we talked about today. I’m not a doctor I just play one on TV. So, I would just play a role. So at first I’m literally making up the character and kind of thinking, okay this agent would go on and say these things and they would act in this way, this is what they said would work so I’m just going to go in and do that. And it was very wrote so it was very rudimentary but I got it working until eventually I came up with this little trick I would play in my own head where I literally had the mantra, this is going very well. And no matter what the person would say to me, I’ve been asked to leave, I’ve had people sit there and roll their eyes when I walked in, whatever it was instead of telling myself what we normally would which is, oh crap, another one that doesn’t want to have me here, I’m interrupting their day, their frustrated with me. Whatever they did my mantra inside my own head and I would just do it I would make myself say it in my mind was, this is perfect, this is exactly how I was hoping this would go. And then I would continue the conversation as though everything was fine and what I found was people would start, they were very confused at first as to why it wasn’t working when they’re giving me the obvious social signals that I should be leaving and then they would start warming up to me and I ended up getting a lot of sales from people that were not excited when I first walked in and eventually through just sheer ignorance I tell my agents, you got to be too stupid to realize they don’t want you there and when you get that and you stay friendly and positive and just keep it light then we’d start talking.
Dr. Aziz: That is a fascinating part I think about sales and about the confidence that’s required to be effective is it’s not just getting in to the conversation it’s staying in the conversation especially after the person has given you some indicator obvious or subtle, hey I don’t want this, I don’t need this, I can’t afford this, that sounds great but it’s not the right time. Whatever it is there’s some sense of quite right and then there’s some sort of confidence we need to have to be able to stay in that conversation. And I love it sounds like you when you get that cue in your mind you’d say, well this is perfect, this is great.
David: Yeah, yeah. I just don’t accept it. I don’t accept that answer or I don’t accept it in the way that it may be intended. So if you tell me, yeah I’m not that interested right now I go, oh, you must not understand how cool this thing this is that I’m coming, you don’t understand insurance so I just need to tell you a little bit more about it, you know. Or I haven’t quite connected with you in the way that I meant to. So I just turn it around I literally I practiced active reframing. It’s not a natural thing, you know, and it feels really strange at first but when you start doing that then people, you know, emotions are contagious and so if I started getting deep down and show that weakness and that fear then that’s how it’s going to go. And on the flip side if I just pretend that this is perfect and I couldn’t imagine a better conversation to have than the one I’m having with this person then in a way they have to play along with it and they would.
Dr. Aziz: Tell me, can you say a little more about what active reframing is. Is it something you say out loud or just that thing that you were doing in your own mind?
David: It’s in my mind. If they say, I’m not interested, Dave, then I can either hear this person doesn’t want me or my product right now or in my mind I would say, you’re not interested and I would just instantly translate it like if I knew another language I would say, oh, they told me they haven’t heard enough yet, I need to explain more.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah and behind that I hear is a belief of, oh they don’t understand yet how amazing this product is and so that sounds like another piece of that confidence is really believing in what you’re selling.
David: Yeah, that’s a big one and not backing down having the confidence to stand behind what you’re selling. So, there came a point early on in my, it’s funny my district manager that I came in underneath that I started training agency said, please don’t teach them to sell the way you did, it doesn’t work for anybody else. It only worked for you, you’re an anomaly. But what I did early on was I set a bar and I said I won’t ever sell somebody something I don’t believe will have to help them. And so if I had a client sitting across from me and they wanted terrible coverage or even now as a coach if I’m working with a client and they say these are my goals and they’re not really goals that are worth investing in then I just tell them I say you don’t need me for that, you know. If a client comes in and says I want minimum coverage on my insurance and I knew that would put t hem at risk I’d say that’s fantastic I recommend that you go to this guy down the street and I would pull a business card out of my desk and hand it to him. I said I won’t write that policy because that doesn’t help you. And out of I think I had 3 people out of my career walk out of my office with that and 2 of them came back and bought from me.
Dr. Aziz: So that is really powerful. What is behind that for you? Is it a value? Is it a way of wanting to be in the world? Can you tell us more about that?
David: Yeah, it’s really and I can even feel it in my body now. It’s doing what’s best for the other person. Sale sis not about manipulating somebody into getting something from me it’s about me offering something of value to them. And I think a lot of the times as sales people we put ourselves in a subservient position to the client trying to please them and make them like us versus showing up and saying, I have some knowledge in my case it was knowledge of how insurance worked and what their risks were then I can offer them or if it’s a product and I know it’s really helpful I know this is a good product, I know this is better than what else is out there and we need to talk about that I just stood firm in that and I didn’t back down on it. It was scary at first it’s really hard to have someone say, are you crazy? You know, I can get this cheaper somewhere else. And to be able to say, you’re right but you don’t get me and you don’t get the quality that I’m offering right now so if you want it cheaper then I would literally like I said I kept business cards in my desk and I would say that’s fantastic. Go down to Bob Reed he’s down the road he will take great care of you. It won’t be the level that I can but if that’s what you’re looking for this is the guy to talk to.
Dr. Aziz: think Bob Reed.
David: Yeah. That was it and Bob was out of business after 3 years and I was still going strong. So, you know, I stood firm in it and if anything like I said clients would leave they’d still respect you. Most of the time when they saw I was serious that I wasn’t just going to do whatever it took to get the sale which is all about me I was going to do whatever it took to take care of them then their guard came down and they saw there is something different going on here we could have a great conversation. And I feel great about it. So I can go home every day feeling really good that I’m helping people and it doesn’t matter what my numbers are and the side effect is you end up selling way more than anybody else.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, kind of one of those paradoxes when you let go and you’re not so focused on me, because really the hyperfocus on me and I got to get them it all goes back to that am I good enough motive and trying to prove something. Because it’s not really even about the money oftentimes it’s about some sense of, oh I dodged the bullet of being not, you know, of not good enough.
David: Yeah, yeah. And then we end up dodging everything. We end up dodging the calls we need to make, we end up dodging the clients and then we just start sabotaging from there and things go downhill quickly.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. That is all the time we have for today’s interview unfortunately because there is so much good stuff coming up and I didn’t want to cut anything out. So next week we’ll be diving in to the rest of the interview with Dave where we’re going to look at the inner game of sales, all the fears, beyond the fear of rejection, all the buttons that it pushes inside of us about asking for things directly and putting ourselves out there and afraid of being pushy. All of these things we’re going to look at much more in depth next week in the rest of the interview. But, for the interest of time we have to stop it for today and let’s dive in to your action step.
Your action step today is to do what Dave is saying about modeling. I mean that is one of the most valuable things you could ever learn. That is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if you apply what he’s saying. So what I’d like you to think of is, who are the masters in your field? Now whether you’re in sales or something else, wherever you work, whatever you do, who are the people who are excellent at what you do? And you can go big like he did he looked across the whole state, or you can go small you can look for someone in your company who is exceptional. And maybe you’re not even working on, you know, sales or anything like that you’re working at the area of dating and relationships that’s why you’re listening to this podcast, that’s why you’re, you know, working on your confidence. Perfect. Who do you know who’s exceptional at talking to women? Or, let’s say you’re working on just general social confidence, great. Who do you know who is really good at talking to people? Maybe you have a friend or a cousin or a relative who’s just really smooth and confident and warm and friendly with people. So whoever it is find an expert, find a model and then go ask them questions. What do they do? How do they think about the situation? What strategies do they have? How do they handle rejection? You really want to talk to that person and if you can do that if you can apply what Dave suggested they can transform your life. I’ve been pursuing and talking to and learning from people who are excellent in the ways that I want to be excellent for many years. It has been a major part of my journey. I’m still doing it right now and I encourage you to do the same because it can rapidly accelerate your progress, your growth, and ultimately your income and your impact. So get out there and do that that’s your action step for today. And I look forward to speaking with you more in the next episode. Until we speak again. May you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome. Talk to you soon.
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