Use Rejection to Drive Success
"Rejection today only means no today, with this specific customer, for this particular value offering. It doesn't dictate our future success prospects."
One portion of my work involves representing technology candidates opportunistically to corporate customers. For example, I am currently representing a patented process that will enhance baked foods' protein content 2-3 times with great taste, without requiring new capital equipment. Based on the benefits of this particular technology I am representing, I am targeting a considerable array of prospects that I feel can successfully leverage it within their businesses. While the technology is earning a lot of initial interest, I realistically expect that my offer will be accepted by a considerably narrower list of prospects.
New business developers hear "no"...a lot.
New business developers hear "no" a lot, just by the opportunistic nature of the work. I have learned that "no" is most often due to a variety of factors where I lack knowledge, influence or control. These can include: their strategy, needs, priorities, their budget, decision making authority, risk tolerance, available alternatives they already be considering, and my technology's own potential limitations. As a result, I have learned to not allow myself to be personally offended when my offering is rejected. Along with this, I have also learned to not express my frustration with negative decisions. While it always feels good to win new business, rejection stings. Still, it is not without some redeeming value. For instance, we can all learn a lot from having our proposals rejected by customers, provided that we've prepared properly and our failure isn't due to our own ineptitude. One most important thing I've learned is not to become comfortable with rejection. Instead, I use rejection to spur me to continually elevate my game and to sharpen my approach.
"No" today, does not dictate future success prospects.
It is important to maintain a clear head and to seek to learn what one can about what might have caused rejection to help prevent its future recurrence. Was it something that I could have handled or prepared for differently? Could I have made a more persuasive appeal? What details did I miss that could have altered the outcome? Do I now have a clearer understanding of the customer's situation, needs and decision making criteria? By staying objective and learning about the things that might have contributed to the (negative) outcome, I can use rejection as an opportunity for reflection and reconsideration. If I have occasion to try again with a given prospect in the future, it should help improve my success prospects go forward. In some instances I may be wise to discontinue contacting a particular customer and concede that they may not be a wise investment of my future time and energies. In most cases however, I take a longer view of the sales process and accept that today's loss doesn't necessarily determine or dictate tomorrow's outcome if I have learned things that I can apppy to help enhance my approach. I've also learned to keep my business development pipeline full, so that I am not overly reliant upon or psychologically invested in any single piece of business. In conclusion: Again, one shouldn't become comfortable with rejection, but should be able to handle it when it does occur. We need to keep things in perspective: if I have prepared properly and thoroughly, and have done everything within my ability to achieve success, then I am able to consistently approach my work with passion and drive. This in turn, enables me to exude authentic confidence and enthusiasm to my clients and customers and to do my best in my dealings with them. Those things are always within my ability to control.