I’ve been down this road before…”The 5 Rules of Rejection”

It’s a game of chess not checkers. Things can get ugly very quickly when running your own business. Just move forward with dignity. People make their social media posts mostly about all of the highlights and positive aspects of their business dealings.

“Drink in Hand – Toes in sand”

We love to set the perfect scene: Imagine if you will, the sun is shining every now and then through “peek-a-boo” clouds. Seagulls gliding on what seems like an endless breeze. Waves gently breaking when they meet the shoreline. We are sitting in a beach chair with a huge umbrella making the perfect shade in this ocean paradise. A cup carved out of a coconut freshly topped off with it’s own umbrella sits within arm’s length on the small table next to us. The post title says it all. “Drink in hand – toes in sand”

Never has there been a time of perpetual perfection. Look for the signs of what is to come. There’s also a storm approaching. The first thing you notice is the eerie silence. Where did the birds go? Their instincts tell them to seek shelter soon. It’s getting darker and the clouds make it known they’re going to start a downpour and SOON.

“I’m going to hold off on this project for now. I’ll get back to you.”

Well now the torrential rain has started without warning. Now we’re scrambling frantically to gather items that will be ruined by the rain and using that umbrella as a temporary relief from the stinging raindrops.

Here’s the summary for those who don’t have time to read the whole thing:

Rule # 1 Don’t take it as a personal shot at you.

Usually, a rejection in business simply means that your service wasn’t what the prospect needed.

Rule #2 Expect to receive rejections.

It’s a numbers thing. Numerically, every business goes through rejection. Even the most successful businesses have and will receive turndowns. Rejection happens. Move forward with dignity.

Rule #3 Be professional.

This should have been Rule #1 but hey, are these rules in any order?No, not really. This could be just a “change of heart” so don’t toss that match and burn the very bridge you may need to cross in the future. There’s no reason for animalistic behavior. You need to remain polite and professional.

Rule #4 Ask why.

This last rule is a combination of steps to be performed in the final phase of a prospect’s refusal.

4a. Send a survey. They may be willing to give insight as to why they are not continuing with this project’s terms.

Perhaps, the deal is sour from their perspective due to a conflict of interest.

4b.If the terms are negotiable, mention that in your closing inquiry.

4c. Send one last-minute proposal.

Maybe they just need you to sweeten the deal. Throw in some free merch such as a T-shirt, or coffee mug with your logo. Even sending a calendar or note pad with your branding would be hard to throw in the garbage for most people. Leave all communication lines open. (see rule #3)

4d. Discuss the timeline of events leading up to the event(s) WITH YOUR TEAM.

This step is very necessary in pushing through the rejection phase of business. Everyone does not take rejection well. This oftentimes becomes reflection on what was left out of the original conversation that may help with future prospects.

4e. Treat it as a necessary part of the process. Our goal here is to minimize the heartache and maximize strategies that will result in fewer rejections.

4f. Be persistent. Some people are just window shopping. Others are naturally skeptical of other business owners and purposefully reject people. I actually had a prospective lead tell me they “…reject every new vendor or service provider’s initial offering just to see how serious they are about getting MY business.”

Bottom line: You’ll get through this storm with valuable lessons in customer relations management.

Last but not least, always offer an opt-out or remove from contact alternative. No need to continue with persistence when it’s TRULY unwanted.