How to overcome a fear of rejection in sales

On a recent Tea with the Queen Queen’s Counsel podcast episode, I talked about sales… specifically, how to overcome a fear of rejection in sales.

If you hate selling, it’s likely that you also have a fear of rejection around sales. This is not unusual, and many of my clients experience this same fear. Unfortunately, sales are part of any business! And if you aren’t able to overcome your fear or rejection when it comes to sales, it could impact your success.

It’s important to find ways to overcome that fear.

How to overcome fear of rejection in sales

Over my years of working with clients, and through my experiences serving on three faculties over the past ten years, I’ve seen that there’s a pattern for business owners who need to make sales. And that if you follow that pattern, you’ll find that you’re able to overcome the fear of rejection, and ultimately make more sales!

Here’s how.

Get comfortable talking about money

As the CEO of your business, you need to be comfortable with talking about money. Many of my female clients have an almost inherent dysfunction about money. It blocks our mindset. It stops us from picking up the phone, building relationships and making sales. So our starting point in how to overcome fear of rejection in sales is our mindset.

Your mindset matters

On my podcast, I shared a coaching client’s story. She needed to make sales, but she wasn’t motivated by money. We reframed the word ‘sell’ to ‘service’. And because she was happy to ‘serve’ rather than ‘sell’, my client went on to sell almost $500,000 worth of programs in one year!

So your mindset matters. A lot! If it’s blocking you from making even one sales call, it’s important to shift your thinking. You might need to start building your abundance mindset before moving into your business mindset. Or you might need to identify and work on your confidence habits.

With the mindset that’s right for you and your practice, your sales success can have a snowball effect.

Eliminate emotion

I have another client who had money mindset issues that went right back to his childhood. He had a lot of emotion tied up in his fear of rejection and couldn’t bring himself to make sales calls. The practical challenge I set for my client to break down his rejection barrier was to get 100 rejections via the phone, and then see what happened.

The point of this challenge is not to make sales. It’s to:

  • Eliminate the emotion we attach to rejection. Setting a goal of 100 rejections becomes a numbers game rather than an emotional roadblock.
  • Become comfortable with rejection.

Like my client, you may think ‘I don’t know 100 people, who will I call?’ But I bet you know more than 100 people on LinkedIn alone.

In the end, my client did as well. So he took on the numbers challenge and rang 86 people. They primarily said, ‘not now’ but in my opinion this isn’t a ‘no’. It’s not a rejection. It’s a ‘yes, later’.

By the end of a calendar quarter, he had sold $250,000 worth of services, masterclasses and webinars. If you break the numbers down, each of his 86 ‘not now’ phone calls had a value of $3,000.

By replacing his emotional fear of rejection and replacing it with a practical numbers challenge, my client found his sales mojo. It’s now his source of energy and sales are a huge motivation for him. In one year, my client went on to sell more than $720,000 worth of his services.

Find your authentic sales approach

If phone calls make you feel ‘ick’, find your authentic sales approach. How do you love to connect with people, and how can you build those relationships?

Selling in a way that feels authentic to you will help you to overcome your fears of rejection. Start a conversation and listen to what your potential client wants and needs.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Connect via social media

    Pay attention on Instagram (or your preferred social media site). Make a comment, respond to a comment, send or respond to a direct message. Build a relationship through your shared interest.

    2. Show your expertise to your target market

    Run a webinar or a masterclass in your area of expertise. Show your knowledge. Let yourself shine.

    3. Build relationships

    A successful early sales tool for me was Lunch with the Queen (an early version of Dinner with the Queen!). Every month for 12 months, I brought together 10 women for lunch. I shared expertise, we all met each other and got to know each other. We all connected and built our network.

    4. Grow your newsletter list

    Build your newsletter list and be consistent with your email content.

    Follow up calls and cold calls

    After each connection, follow up with a phone call. Thank each person for their DM, attending your webinar, coming to lunch or opening your email. Ask what future content they’d like to see or if you can help them or their practice in any way.

    I never advocate cold calling anyone. It’s my personal ‘ick’ moment. It’s far better to establish a connection, build a relationship and then follow up with a call.

    Focus on what you can control

    If you’re having trouble shifting your mindset and taking the first practical step forward in your sales practice, focus on what you can control. Don’t project into the future or make assumptions about clients you may meet or people you may connect with.

    What you can do is:

    • Send one DM.
    • Write and send your first email newsletter.
    • Invite 10 people to one lunch.
    • As I shared in my podcast, build your authenticity by writing and practising what you’ll say when it comes time to make that sales call.

    What can you do today to make sales

    Think about the one thing you can do today to move the dial towards future sales for you. What practical challenge can you set yourself, to eliminate the emotion from sales rejection and help you to build momentum. Stay committed to the process, it works!

    I hope I’ve helped answer the question of how to overcome a fear of rejection in sales and removed some of the ickiness in general. My strategy is to eliminate the emotion, build your relationships and make some sales. I’d love to know how you go.

    Please join me for more Tea with the Queen! Or connect and build relationships at my Events. And please contact me if my Coaching Services may be something that could help you. For more about me, please visit

    Looking for something else?

    Emma also has a podcast.