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The sales funnel and fear of rejection


The sales funnel and fear of rejection

Last week, we coached a session with a couple of bright young business men.  As always, we started with a discussion on their business which covered the profit and loss projections, marketing and their target audiences.  

Without going into detail, theirs is a service industry where they provide other businesses by “enhancing” their product. The quality of what they do is superb and a market leader but the problem they faced was identifying the businesses that could benefit from the service.  

Taking this one step further, we discovered that there were in fact a minimum of 10 businesses in every town in Kent that could benefit from their service which equated to over 1000 businesses in Kent alone.

Challenging them further, it occurred to us that they had only approached two businesses from each postal town to try and sell their product. When asked how they selected potential targets, they told us that they simply judge the businesses in each town by their size, marketing and website. The net effect was that they hadn’t even approached 80% of their potential prospects.

Whilst this may sound obvious, it’s remarkable how many businesses do not identify the whole of their market effectively. But in simple sales terms, we would always suggest that any marketing only has a 10-20%success rate. So, in simple terms, from asking 100 businesses, we would expect to see at least 10 new customers whereas in their model, they were only achieving 2 new prospects.

The simple successful model we used was that of store cards in clothing retailers where the staff member is instructed by head office to offer a discount in exchange for opening a new credit card.   The retailer assumes that they will achieve a 1% success rate. Therefore, when a store has 200 customers in a day, they would expect to open two new accounts as a result.

The next issue was that of the fear of rejection. Using the example above, recall the last time you were offered a store card in a shop. How did you feel about the person who asked you to open that account card? Do you even remember what they looked like? I’m guessing you can’t even recall if it was a man or woman and simply accepted that they “were doing their job.”


So, key points to remember:-


·        Identify all your potential customers.

·        Ensure you communicate with all of them and never judge before meeting them!

·        Ensure you keep regular and consistent contact with them. They are unlikely to say at the first time of asking.

·        Remember that rejection is of the product and not of you as a person.


There are many other marketing and sales techniques specific for any business. For more information, or to book your free initial coaching session, please email us at or visit our website at

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