How to Deal with Rejection

“I’m sorry, but we’re just not interested at this time.”

We’ve all been rejected at one point or another. If you haven’t been, then you’re not trying hard enough or putting yourself out there.

Whether you’re a salesperson, a freelancer, or the leader of an organization who is trying to raise money or get new clients, you have to get used to hearing a lot of “no-s.” In fact, it is probably the no-s that make you greater appreciate “yes.” Being rejected is the norm rather than the exception. You have to develop a thick skin and get over your fear of it if you want to succeed.

As a freelancer serving clients and someone starting a digital marketing agency, I know all too well about how to deal with rejection.

Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time a prospect says no to you:

It’s not you, it’s them.

Don’t take rejection personally. Unfortunately, the first instinct of many people, especially new freelancers, is that someone saying no to them means: “You’re not good enough” or “Your work is not good enough.” But, that’s not necessarily the case. More often, the real reason they said no may have nothing to do with you at all. It may be because of any of the following reasons or more:

  • You didn’t generate enough interest or provide enough value in your pitch.
  • You poorly explained the benefit or value of what you offer.
  • They had no interest or need for the product or service in the first place and would not have purchased it from anyone.
  • Their budget is too tight right now.
  • The decision maker is too busy to consider your offer at the moment.

Don’t dwell.

Regardless of the reason, the prospect already said no. The wrong thing for you to do is dwell on it. Sure, learn from your mistakes or refine your pitch, but don’t waste time agonizing over it. The longer you dwell over a loss, the longer you hold yourself back from your next big win.

Don’t burn bridges.

Although it may be frustrating, keep your cool. Don’t respond emotionally or send an email when you’re angry or upset. Simply move on amicably and keep looking for the next deal. Burning a bridge is never worth it. For one thing, it can come back to hurt your reputation. Burning a bridge is also counterproductive, because a rejection right now may later turn into an acceptance if you’re nice about it, which brings me to my next and final point:

No always means not now.

When it comes to sales, adopt the mindset that “no” simply means “not now.” There have been many times when a prospect said no to me, but said yes when I reached out again later. People who turn down your initial offer may end up being more receptive at a later point in time or be persuaded by a slightly different offer. Therefore, don’t despair when someone says no. You can always try again later. A rejection is not written in stone for all time. A little persistence or stepping away and circling back in a few months can sometimes change the outcome for the positive.

Whenever you’re having a tough time with rejection, don’t be so quick to blame yourself or your prospects. Simply remember the above three points and keep on keepin’ on. A positive attitude will make all the difference.


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I'm a writer and digital marketer. Communicating your brand's message and helping you to connect with the right audience is my specialty. If you are interested in: branding, marketing, copywriting, social media, search engine marketing, inspiration, success, and enjoying life, then my blog is the right place for you.

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