Ann Baldwin – Rejection is good for business

Marketing can be a problem for many of those following professional career paths. We are trained to get things right and to point out other people’s mistakes. Being respected and accepted becomes synonymous with being right.

‘No, thank you, not today,’ is a phrase that will pepper the day of a travelling salesman, but is not heard by accountants. We are mortified if someone says ‘no’ or disagrees.

My other career as a writer has taught me to cope with rejection. I’ve only sold 15% of the scripts I’ve written.

That’s lots of rejections. How would accountants deal with this? Imagine a letter from a client: ‘Thank you very much for the statutory accounts you sent us, but they were not quite what we are looking for.’ Or how about sending a client a complex tax computation and getting this response: ‘The standard of computations we received this year was excellent. Sadly yours was not chosen. However, we have kept your name on file.’

For writers, rejection comes with the territory. We have pre-addressed envelopes at the ready to send rejected scripts off to the next contact.

Rejection becomes a badge of success, for only if we’re writing and risking sending our work to someone will there be any rejections. Many would-be writers never get rejections because they never get down to writing: they have no time; they’re too busy reading articles about how to write; they have to go to seminars to listen to other writers; they have to sit in the pub and chat about the problems of writing; but they don’t write.

It’s the same with marketing. It is easy to find reasons not to do it, but in truth we’re just terrified of rejection. If you lose tenders, if a contact has said he or she does not want to take things further now, if your telephone call is not returned – congratulations, because I know you’re out there, probably winning lots of work and if you’re not now you will be, because you will be learning.

Take the same approach to getting a rise or promotion, changing jobs, influencing your chairman. Learn to handle rejection and you can achieve anything you want.

Ann Baldwin FCA is a management trainer and speaker.

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