How to cope with rejection. Remaining positive.
The first thing you need to tell yourself is that it would be odd indeed if everything you did was accepted first time. Or within the first 10 times, or the first 100 times.
Rejections are just a normal part of your personal evolution, and of the evolution of your product.
As a writer myself, I know full well how discouraging it can be and, Lord knows, there have been many times I have wanted to throw in the towel and “give up” – even now, after much success I still sometimes feel that.
Things to tell yourself, and to try to always remember:-
1) each “no” brings you closer to a “yes”.
2) a rejection does not mean that your product (whatever it is) is no good, it just means that that particular person didn’t take to it
3) most statistics work on a 1% – 3% basis. This means that for every 100 fliers (for example) you put out, only 1% of people will actually look at it. Of that 1% only a further 1% will be interested. And of that 1% who are interested, only 1% will actually buy it. This shows what huge amount of networking, advertising, writing letters and e-mails, phoning and talking you have to do to get your product even noticed, let alone bought.
4) but it is a challenge ! If you regard that as a chore you will not succeed.
The rejection may not really be a rejection
5) many rejections are not even legitimate; as a writer I know that often enough my pitch letter has been quickly glanced at by an office assistant who has been told to “sort through the post” and who is not in a position to assess my writing or my drawing. But that is just the way it is. Publishers in particular receive fantastic amounts of post and e-mails.
6) Remember what granny taught you: every cloud has a silver lining! Each rejection offers you a chance to re-assess your presentation, your product, your packaging … and to make an improvement. And even when you truly feel no further improvement can be made (indeed, one can over-improve!), just repeat no.1: each “no” gets me closer to a “yes”.
The hat you wear
7) never ignore a rejection, but on the other hand don’t dwell on it. Put your positive hat on and say “No ? Ok, fine then. NEXT ?!”
8) Ask yourself what you can learn. I also run a holiday business in France, and I have learnt hugely from rejections: I have learnt that the people who ask lots of questions and want “more” photos do not reserve the holiday. The ones who reserve are the ones who are decisive and quick-off-the-mark. They say to themselves: Yup, that villa seems about right, in the right area, the cost is about right – so they go for it. From this I have learnt to tell within the first e-mail or phone call whether or not the client is going to reserve. You can do the same: learn the traits in your type of client, learn to weed-out the time-wasters and focus on the more likely options … whatever your product
Par for the course
9) remember that handling rejections is simply part of the deal, like sending e-mails, paying the staff, opening the office, placing an ad. It is just part of what you do: no more and no less
10) finally, ask questions. I know you think you have already asked all the questions possible, but there are always other questions, other options and scenarios. If you a truly only getting rejections after massive effort, you do need to ask yourself if your product is being paddled upstream. Perhaps you are not gearing the market in the right direction? And if you are certain you are heading the right way – well, go for it! You’ll get there. You will.
Catherine Broughton is a novelist and also owns and runs holiday houses in France. Check her out on Google.