Well intentioned people sometimes give bad advice.
“Don’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” they’ll say.
And they’re wrong.
Sometimes you do have to take “No” for an answer because what you’re offering doesn’t match the current need or because the timing isn’t right.
Every year during Spring Training, it’s my job to interview more than 20 Seattle Mariners in the course of 10 days. Every morning I walk into the clubhouse and make my asks. I’ll hear “No” quite a bit. As in, “No, I can’t do it today Jen.” Or “No, before workouts doesn’t work, but I can make time after we come off the field.”
Those examples might not sound like rejection, but it can feel like rejection when someone is saying it to your face.
So what do you do?
Well, here’s what I do as a sports reporter:
First, I clarify the response. What is the player actually saying? Am I getting blown off entirely, or is the player asking for me to accommodate his schedule and timing?
Secondly, I don’t leave the space. Just because I got turned down for one interview, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen every time I make the ask. I still have work to do and need to be in the clubhouse building relationships and allowing players to warm up to seeing me there.
Lastly, I find a way to stay on the radar. It starts by just being seen in their space and by strategically planning follow up conversations.
And here’s what I do as a business owner:
Clarify the response. Is the timing bad or does my product/offering/service/rate not fit with what you need?
Don’t leave the space. Saying “No” to a product/offering/service/rate is different that saying “No” to you as a person. Find a way to build a relationship that’s not based on the business transaction.
Follow up. Getting rejected once doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be rejected in the future – unless you haven’t taken the time to stay on the radar. Develop a follow up plan that keeps you visible and top of mind.
Sounds pretty similar doesn’t it? In fact, here’s the video I posted from Radio Row during Super Bowl week after I dealt with two days of rejection.
Accept rejection – sometimes you need to take no for an answer.
Posted by Jen Mueller on Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Here’s the way I look at both rejection scenarios. It doesn’t matter if I’m hearing “No” as a sports reporter or as a business owner. I can’t control what the other person says. I can control how I respond. Hearing “No” isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Me choosing to get upset, pitch a fit, beg, be condescending, and generally unpleasant in response are among the worst things that could happen.
Demonstrate your leadership skills. Have a plan for handling rejection with grace and class. And be willing to take “No” for an answer on occasion.
Jen Mueller is a rock star keynote presenter who takes an outside-the-box approach to business communication. She’s spent 18 years in sports broadcasting and currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. Jen is the author of three books. Her most recent release, The Influential Conversationalist launched in October. Hire Jen for your next conference or training: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.