I love running an online business for many reasons. One big reason is that it protects me from hurtful rejections. Say no. Don’t be mean about it.
It’s one thing to reject someone’s business offer. It’s another thing to write them off and not even give them a chance. Business is built on human interaction. As long as businesses exist, people will throw pitches at you and you will also make pitches. Why must you be mean about how you say NO? A lot of people still need to learn to reject pitches without crushing people’s souls. Remember there’s a living human behind every product or service.
A few days ago, I bumped into someone I thought I could work with in future. I walked up to say hello but he basically walked “through” me. It was like I was invisible. I can’t tell you how totally demoralizing that could make one feel. If not that I am older now, I would probably have spent weeks dwelling on that experience.
Another similar experience happened about 4 years ago in 2016. I was working as a junior property manager in Warri, Delta State. I was desperate to impress my company. I spoke to probably 20 people per day. I walked into offices, stores, uncompleted structures, business premises, and wherever it seemed like I could sell our services. It was frightening enough that I never had invitations to these places. Some would quickly walk me out of their offices, others would ask me to come back with an invite. There was a day I walked into an almost finished mansion. I could see the 10% agency fee walking into my company account already. I braced myself and spoke to the foreman on site. He told me to wait for madam.
Surely, madam arrived soon. She looked like her husband just hit wealth recently. You know that look that tells you this person has not been rich for too long but they are starting to get accustomed to being hailed and deferred to as “oga”. I patiently waited for an opportunity to talk to madam. Eventually, I saw an opening and moved in to pitch. As I started to talk, she just continued talking to someone else and moved on. I felt a deep hurt. I felt like I didn’t really matter to anyone. It crushed my spirit for a few minutes. I walked out of that place embarrassed but I moved on to the next location and continued.
I believe that every day is an opportunity to build bridges and help those who may be struggling. This is not always possible. However, we can try. Many times, we miss out on the potential that others have. Since 2016, I have grown to build a thriving content development practice. I have served global teams and platforms in projects worth more than $1.5M. In that time, I have worked with over 100 international clients. You can check my profile and portfolio here. All my best projects were with business owners who had massive projects but had warm interactions with me.
How to reject without crushing:
1. Be warm and welcoming to new ideas and proposals. You might happen on gold.
2. Try to be human. Don’t crush those beneath you.
3. Most times, companies send their young team members to market alone. Be considerate of their inexperience.
4. See these youngsters and their efforts. Give them a chance to even pitch.
5. Carve out time out of your busy schedule to provide pointers that would help that young person.
6. If you are too busy, at least be kind to let them down softly.
7. You were once a nobody as well.
And for those young people struggling to find a footing out there, I hope this speaks to you. You are not going to always meet humane prospects so I have a few suggestions.
How to avoid & handle crushing rejection:
Being a freelancer, I do a lot of pitches. I write brand copy for businesses and I know how much people put into their sales copy. A lot of them pay top dollar just to find the right approach for their brand. How then should you handle a rude and fat NO? Here’s how I personally handle rejection. 5 things to remember always:
- Leverage more on the associates of your senior colleagues. They are already familiar with what you do.
- Grow networks through digital platforms for a soft landing.
- Always be ready for these crushing responses.
- Don’t let bad prospects crush your spirit and avoid making such experiences define how you see yourself.
- A strong self-image will keep you on your feet till you land a sale.
So you see, this is why I love digital marketing and platforms. With the internet, I am able to present my case with a kind of cushion in between. Selling online is less intrusive and more indirect. This gives prospects a chance to get to know you from afar and get comfortable with you. The chance of getting embarrassed for trying online is not as huge as offline. Every time you come online, decide how you can impress people without direct contact. Eventually, customers will find you on their own.
Have you had a bad sales rejection experience? I would like to hear it so leave me a comment below.