Collecting the No’s Along with the Yes’s
I saw a post today from someone who received a “no” to a recent pitch. She explained it isn’t as much a rejection as an affirmation she’s showing up and as such, is a cause for celebration. If you don’t show up, the answer is always no, but if you do, eventually, there will be yes’s mixed in with those no’s and frankly, you can’t possibly accommodate all the feelers you put out there, all the offers you make and the pitches you send. You have to expect some rejections and even embrace them as they give you more time to handle the ones who accept your offer or seek out your services.
Thinking about it, I felt the same way about rejections I received for article writing pitches. Although I was a bit disheartened at the time, I was also proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying. Not only that, the no’s we receive are confirmation someone actually paid attention. How many times do we send out queries, offers, or pitches, only to find they get lost in the void. Nobody responds to our initial pitch, and even follow-up emails and calls go unanswered. I’d much rather have a good, solid no than find myself pitched into the black hole of not-worthy-of-a-responsedom.
Each of us is Selling Something
Years ago I was in between jobs and part of a local group of professionals who were associated with the EDD (California Employment Development Department) and supported each other in their job searches with resources, community outreach programs and presentations by members and guests. One of the first things they asked was “who here is a salesperson”. Only a few hands went up, as the speaker expected. He then went on to explain we are all salespeople. In one way or another, we are selling ourselves. As salespeople, rejection is part of the game. If we aren’t receiving our fair share of rejections, we’re not engaging enough. I was going to say, “making enough offers” but realized it goes counter to what I not only believe, but try to live by: sales is all about building relationships.
The most effective salespeople I’ve ever encountered were those who spent time getting to know people without worrying about whether or not a person was a likely candidate for the product or service they sold. They showed genuine interest in everyone else’s businesses and stories, offering their own only if prompted to do so. Though I’m still learning, this is the kind of person I aspire to be.
Learning from the Best in the Business
Fortunately, I am seeing plenty of fantastic examples lately. In particular, Kevin Huhn, an absolute master of media and exposure who I met on an online meetup recently. Everyone was invited to talk about what they do, and he was incredibly supportive of each of our monologues. It wasn’t until well into the call I realized he hadn’t shared what he did, so I asked the question. He was so humble when speaking about his journey and the wealth of skills and talents he uses to help launch his clients into the spotlight. Yet, it’s only part of what his business provides. I had to actually visit his website to understand the magnitude and scope of what he and his company provide. He’s the omni-dimensional entrepreneur we’d all like to be.
One thing I’m learning by hanging out with a lot of successful entrepreneurs is we all have valuable experience and skills. Yet many of us aren’t even clear about what we know or how we can help others. Once we’re clear (or at least have more than an inkling) of our own sphere of excellence, the trick is to let people know what we can do without making them feel like we’re only seeing them as a potential revenue source. Combine that with a natural reticence to talk about ourselves, and at times it seems like an insurmountable mountain.
Learning from the experts is always an option (provided you can afford their price tag). Yet as Linda Clay of #HeartfeltEmpowerment recently pointed out it’s easy to get lost in the white noise of so many offers and opinions. Finding the right coach is a lot like finding the right therapist. First, you must have at least some idea of what you need help with. Then you need to find someone who can help you without trying to fix you; someone who has at least a little experience with the challenges you face and the obstacles to your success.
Finding the Right Fit
I’ve met many who seem to understand and offer excellent advice, but advice is only as good as our ability to act on it and make it part of our regular routine. All too often, the services I’ve purchased have been little more than money down the drain, not because the service provider wasn’t great at what they did, but because it wasn’t the right fit for me. The first thing I needed to learn was not how to do one thing or another, but that I wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be fixed.
Because we lack a certain skill or vision, many of us see it as a flaw or lack within ourselves. Nothing is further from the truth. There’s a lot to be said for the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. We can’t possibly master all facets of running a business plus our unique abilities and talents in a single lifetime. Instead, we need to know when to reach out and ask for help, and try to do so in an orderly fashion.
Figuring Out What Answers We Need So We’ll Know Which Questions To Ask
It’s not always an easy task when your mind jumps from idea to idea as mine tends to do. (big surprise, I know). One day, I think I need help with marketing, the next, a business plan, and who knows what I’ll feel I’m lacking by next Tuesday. The reality smacked me in the head with this week’s yet-to-be-completed homework assignment for #HeartfeltEmpowerment. I have to look first at my ultimate goal, than break it down into smaller pieces. Only then will I be able to see not only all the things I need help with, but the order in which I need to address them.
For someone who spent over 3 decades playing with numbers, spreadsheets, and contracts, it took me an inordinate amount of time to understand one simple fact; I was dealing with businesses that were already well established and had the things I don’t know already tried, tweaked, and regularly reviewed by upper management. In order to get my own balloon off the ground, I need to go through the same process, albeit on a smaller, more personal scale!
Giving and Receiving Our Share of No’s
I’ve taken the long way around, but here’s what else I’ve learned. I will continue to get offers and suggestions as to what I need to do first, how I need to determine my ideal client, branding, marketing, and a bazillion other aspects of the business I am building from the ground up, by and for myself. I need to learn when and where to focus my attention, and when it is in my best interests to offer a polite “no thank you”, or “I’ll consider your offer at a later time when I’m in a better position to fit it into my overall business plan”. Because, just as no’s are good for me and are an indication that I’m showing up, stepping out, and accepting that I’m not a good fit for everyone, so, too are the offerers who approach me. They know a no from me isn’t personal, but simply a part of their own journey to find those who will benefit most from their expertise.
Showing My Gratitude for Lessons Learned and Lessons Still to Come
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for all of the amazing people who generously share some of their expertise so I can figure out what it is I need first.
- I am grateful for the #HeartfeltMovement whose members are willing to work with me, nay, pay it forward for me and so many others knowing we will do the same when we are able.
- I am grateful for the people who have listened to me without judgement for the last few years as I stumble and fall on my face over and over, trying to figure out the business of being in a new and different business.
- I am grateful for my own resilience and refusal to give up on a dream I risked everything to follow.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, amazing and talented people, generosity, brilliance, encouragement, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your unique and genuine self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author