Rejection sucks. How to deal with rejection when negotiating

Rejected Minion

Rejection sucks!

Rejection, whether it’s no one accepting your awesome party invite or being turned down for a promotion, freaking hurts. It’s one of the worst emotions to deal with. Scientists have shown that the same brain regions for physical pain get activated when we experience rejection.

The number one reason people don’t negotiate: fear of rejection

Humans have been social creatures from the time we were knuckle dragging apes. We grouped together for mutual protection, educating our young and getting food. Becoming a social outcast means losing access to all of that. That’s why our brain triggers an intense, almost physical pain when we experience rejection.

That’s the reason many people don’t even want to negotiate. They’re afraid of rejection.

That’s why being able to overcome rejection is one of the key parts of negotiation. Here’s how:

  1. Recognize that rejection is non-negotiable
  2. Plan for rejection
  3. Get excited by rejection

Rejection is non-negotiable

There’s no such thing as a negotiation that is free of rejection. Rejection is unavoidable! Once you recognize that, knowing how to deal with rejection becomes a necessity.

I have to find a way to deal with setbacks, failures even, when I lose ground in a negotiation. I have to find a way to overcome that pain. I need to because it’s going to happen.

Because rejection stings so much, it can blindside you in the middle of a negotiation, making you too emotional to think rationally. A lot of us let rejection get personal. We start thinking things like “Why did I even ask? I’m so stupid!”, “I knew I can’t negotiate my salary, I’m not even a top performer” starts popping up. Just because the other person turned you down doesn’t mean that there are no other options to explore. Don’t let a single rejection define the entire conversation. In a negotiation, rejection is rarely personal. The other party is rejecting the offer that you made. Not you.

The only way to master the art of dealing with rejection is to get rejected and keep on asking.

Plan for rejection

Now that you know that rejection is certain, you need to plan for what happens when get rejected. Before entering a negotiation, you should always plan for failure and give yourself alternative avenues to explore.

In a salary negotiation for example, if there’s a gap in pay expectations, you can think of alternative forms of compensation:
1) An equity stake in the company
2) Increasing the days of Annual leave
3) Increasing your medical leave / dental benefits
4) Asking for quarterly performance review with a potential salary adjustment

Offering options to the other person give you more room for negotiation. Getting a “no” in one area doesn’t mean the whole negotiation is over.

Let rejection excite you

If you think of negotiation as a process, rejection is a good thing! Rejection is merely closing off options until something both parties can agree to is reached. Most people don’t see it that way. They let that one “no” dominate the whole process. But you’ve already developed a plan for failure, so you can simply move on to the next step in the proccess. Your first offer got rejected, what are your next moves?

The moment you experience rejection and decide to push through anyway, you automatically separate yourself from 99% of the people out there who got rejected and chose to quit.

It’s like running a marathon. You’re never competing with everyone who participated. A lot of people start dropping out of the marathon at 5km. And more drop off at 15km. Until you’re left with the people who can actually finish the race.

On a final note.

As you practice negotiation, you will see setbacks because success and failure are not two separate paths. Rejection is on the same road as success. Just picture success as farther down that road. One you start negotiating, there are times where you fail. Think of it as practicing any skill. There’s a period of time when you haven’t yet proven that you can do this negotiating thing. Like any skill though, you can’t do it at all in the beginning. In fact, it might not be until the fourth, fifth or sixth time that you succeed. But each negotiation means getting a better handle on your own emotions, understanding your own style of dealing with people, and polishing those skills.

PS: If you like to know more about negotiation…

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