Handling Failure and Rejection

Handling failure and rejection is a fact of life especially if you are in sales, management or a budding entrepreneur. How one reacts to failure or rejection directly affects ones self-esteem and ongoing levels of motivation.

I think that failure and rejection are two different things that are interlinked in the mind of each and everyone. I have worked with numerous individuals over the years and some handle failure and rejection really well and others can hit the self destruct button. Having the correct mindset is essential to overcoming setbacks. The fear of failure and or rejection can be debilitating or liberating!

The first thing to consider is

There is no success without first trying. Failure is part of the journey to success.


Trying means you are bound to experience failure at some point or another. I have yet to meet anyone who claims to be successful all of the time. If you want success then you have to be prepared to encounter failure. Most successful people know this. How many of us learned to ride a bike without crashing once or twice? It hurts but you simply get back on and try again. If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again!


Rejection on the other hand is when an individual senses emotional pain to the extent that their own personality or capabilities are brought into question by themselves.

  • Why do they not like me?
  • What have I done wrong for them not to accept me?
  • Why am I so inadequate?

Try to remember when you are feeling rejection this may not be a reflection on you. It could be that the other person simply is not on your wavelength.

There is no simple answer on how to handle rejection.

This depends on your own personality and make-up. However having observed successful people at first hand,  they have all experienced rejection at one time and another. However what sets them apart is they find a way to move forward that suits their personality and sense of direction and purpose at that time.They always find a way to bounce back!

Here are a few suggestions I hope you might find useful on handling rejection.

  • Try not to take it personally.
  • Do not give up at the first sign of difficulty.
  • Accept that you are more likely to fail than succeed.
  • Learn to love yourself and others will follow.

Success usually tastes sweeter when you have experienced failure/rejection first.

After all how do you know what success is if you have not experienced failure?

If fear of failure or rejection is holding you back, I would recommend reading the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers.

Best wishes.


Tangible and Intangible Buying Motives

People buy for a variety of reasons. Some buy for prestige, some buy for economy, some buy for simply a feel good factor. Retail buyers motives may differ slightly from those of business buyers but the overall reasons why people buy are very similar. People like to buy from people. The intensity of the motive, tangible or intangible is what makes each purchase unique.

Most buyers want you to focus on the tangible reasons for a sale; price, payment terms, delivery terms, technical specifications etc. However, there are many other intangible reasons why a buyer would gain satisfaction from making a purchase.

These intangible buying motives can be broken down into four subcategories;

The Product,

The Company/Supplier

The Customer

The Salesperson.

We will go into more detail in each of these shortly. Each of the above subcategories will have a number of individual motives which in their own way have an influence on any purchasing decision. Professional buyers will try to limit the effect these intangible motives have on their decision-making. However many of them work at the subconscious level. Professional sales people will try to influence intangible as well as tangible motives.

To illustrate how strong an intangible motive can be, imagine a business has been dealing with a strong personal friend for several years. Assuming there is no difference in tangible reasons to buy, how much discount would a complete stranger have to give to displace a strong and valuable relationship? Yes it is difficult to quantify but it is a potentially strong barrier to a new supplier.

Take some time to examine what intangibles can influence your sales and purchases in your organisation. Spending time on this could pay dividends when you are either trying to gain a new account or protect some of your existing business.


Product presentation/packaging
Brand Image
Implication of design
Environmental Impact


Understanding customers’ requirements
Company culture and policies
Local Supplier v National/International Coverage
Market Leader
Image, Reputation, Stability
After Sales Service
Well established company
Social acceptability


Ability to communicate
Personal Presentation
Integrity, Trust, Enthusiasm
Technical ability
Personal relationship
Able to define customer need


Historical relationship
Reluctance to change
Fear of change
Pride, ego, flattery
Budget pressures
Confidence – company and goods
Apparent value for money
Referrals from others
Local Loyalty
Company policy
Emotional response
Time pressures

Everyone reacts to tangible and intangible buying motives in different ways.  I would recommend that the next time you are preparing for a sales interview or pitch take a look at the list above and try to estimate how intangible buying motives are likely to influence the final decision to purchase and build these into your pitch. You might be surprised to learn that most purchasing decisions are actually taken at an emotional level.

When all things are equal people buy people

Something more! This might also help you consider areas that could influence a purchasing decision. An anagram of SPACED often helps me to categorise elements of my offering.

S = Specifications = What it is.

P = Performance = What is does.

A = Appearance = How it looks.

C = Convenience = How easy it is to access and use it.

E = Economics = How much will it cost or save.

D = Durability = How long will it last, warranty, service etc.

In any sales situation ensure you cover intangible reasons as well as tangible reasons and you are well on your way to securing that all important emotional attachment to a purchase decision!