Facing a lifetime of rejection

12 November 2018Myra Knoesen

In part one of this article we will take a look at the issue of client rejection.

It is often said that practice makes perfect and a first impression counts. These notions cannot be any truer when interacting with clients.

When you deal with customers in the real world, things are going to go wrong. Whether issues originate from dissatisfaction, it can be precarious managing a troubled customer.

In building solid customer relationships, it is also important to understand what consumers want and expect. In today’s more demanding and customer centric world, revamping customer service is essential to maintaining long lasting client relationships. The key is to balance the customised and impersonal service that is delivered. Clients want their lives made easier. When they present a problem, you need to have a solution and fix it. This is the basic and most common need. However, what if the common thread is rejection?

The matter at hand

Rejection can be quite a downer, especially when you are banking your hopes on a positive outcome. No one likes to receive a "No", when it is so much better to get a "Yes".

The thing is, rejection is part of growth - be it in work, relationships or life. Over the course of your lifetime, it is inevitable that you will face some kind of rejection.

And that then raises the question: How do you deal with no? Or maybe even more important: How do you turn a no into a yes?

The struggle is real 

In your struggle to win sales, Dan Streeter, Principal of IMPART Learning Solutions and founder of Three Creative, Tim Brown, says when you earn second place, you get nothing.

They both emphasise that once that client is locked up with your competing vendor, they may never relinquish that relationship, and that relationship may never come up for bid again.

“In fact, you will likely find that you will be told “no” way more often than not. Even if you have a relatively high closing ratio of 20 to 30 percent, this means that you are being told “no” 70 to 80 percent of the time,” said Streeter and Brown.

In part two of the article we will consider some ways to handle this rejection and tips going forward.

In part one of the article we looked at the issue of client rejection. In part two we look at some of the ways to handle this rejection.

 Handling rejection 

Now that you are comfortable with the fact that you are going to be told “no,” Streeter and Brown consider some ways to handle this rejection:

  • Understand that “no” is not negative, it’s only feedback -Life is neutral. The only one who is placing a label on this event is you. Don’t take it personal.
  • Get a clue -No doesn't always mean no. Instead, often, it's just an easier answer than, "I'm not sure" or "I don't know" or "I'm not ready at this moment to give you an answer."
  • Labels are sticky -Once a rejection occurs, it is easy to move the label from the event to then labeling ourselves by saying: “I suck … I am a terrible person … I am such a loser… Why would anyone buy from me?” Breathe and stop with the labels. Instead, interrupt that thinking with: “It is just experience.”
  • Reflection is not just a three-syllable word -Most people make the same mistakes over and over again because they never ask themselves or their customers what they could have done differently. Prospects when asked, many times, will be incredibly open with you about the reasons why they chose a competitor.
  • Embrace being in second place -We know that our competitor’s best clients are just one mistake away from calling us. Never burn a bridge, keep in contact with clients (but avoid the “just checking-in call”), keep visiting with them at networking events and act as their resource broker.
  • Be a resource broker -Want the fastest way to become number one? Send your prospect “a trickle” of contacts that they need to know either personally or professionally. It is almost guaranteed that no one else is doing this.
  • Realise you are not the "Godfather" - In the movie, The Godfather Part II, Michael Corleone famously mumbles, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Remember: the workplace is not the mafia. Make friends with your competitors. This may go against every dog-eat-dog, business-world, sense you have, but remember, your competitors are just like you. At times, they are overwhelmed, not every customer fits their business model, they need the help of outside expertise, and who knows, they may even be in need of a sub-contractor from time to time. And if they do not know, like, and trust you, they will not call you.

Do things differently 

There is always a reason behind rejection. Sometimes rejection stems from a bad idea, mismatching needs and values, a bad approach etc.

However, if you can understand the reason behind the rejection, you can do things differently next time. This will be immensely helpful in your growth.



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