You wrote, but never heard back.
You heard back, but it wasn’t good news.
You called, but nobody answered.
You followed up, but Lord knows if they care.
Rejection! No traction! DESPAIR!
Rejection can sting. And while it’s usually NOT personal, there’s a LOT you can do to bolster your chances of getting heard, getting helped and getting the HELL YES you crave.
Here are 5 reasons you might be getting the frosty-cold shoulder … and 5 tips to shift your approach (and your attitude).
1. Your expectations are a tad unrealistic.
You’ve never published so much as a Craiglist personal ad, and you’re pitching The Huffington Post with an op-ed column?
You may be brilliant. You may ‘deserve’ it. You may feel ready. But you don’t have the street cred to back up your claims.
Should you seal up in hermitage and bemoan your fate? No. You should strategically pitch smaller, less thunder-powered outlets with similar concepts, build up a striking portfolio, and THEN swing back to the big guys. But this time, as a viable contender.
2. You’re not respecting the proper channels.
If a potential employer says “no phone calls, please” — they mean it. If a blog supernova says “contact my assistant, first” — they’re not kidding. If a publishing company says, “no unsolicited manuscripts, thank you” — they’ve got their reasons.
You can be charming, memorable, sensational, rebellious — but deliver your brilliance through the indicated channels, ’cause you don’t want your first impression to get trashed or ignored.
3. The person you’re contacting is REALLY busy.
Think about how many emails, text messages & tweets you screen through, every day. Urgent stuff. Not so urgent stuff. Family photos. Invitations. Fan mail. Foe mail. Freaky mail. Business inquiries. Photos of daschunds in tiny fedoras. That TED Talk you’ve just GOT to watch. Now multiply that by … oh, say, 100. 200. 1,000. Infinity.
If you’re reaching out to an extremely busy human, it’s quite possible your missive fell through the cracks — or (gasp!) they simply haven’t gotten to it yet.
If you suspect you got skipped, wait a reasonable amount of time (at LEAST a week) and then swing back with a follow-up. Singular. As in, once.
It’s also possible that your message was simply deemed “not a priority.” That might sting a bit. But you will survive.
4. Something about your approach feels mass-produced, disingenuous, or emotionally-detached.
Mass email blasts. Way-too-long intros. Presumptuous demands. Info over-loading.
When I get an impersonal “Hey, everybody!” email blast — unless it’s from someone I consider to be a close friend — it usually gets deleted.
Fair? Probably not. Cruel? Maybe. But my limbic system rationalizes it thusly: “if they can’t take the time to write a personal note, then why should I take the time to drum up a personal plan to support them?”
We only have so much time and energy, and impersonal blasts rarely inspire me to give mine away. (I imagine that … for you? It’s the same.)
5. Your call-to-action is flaccid, uninspiring or nonexistent.
Say … you’re reaching out to a potential sponsor for your hot-cha-cha conference. You could wrap up your pitch, like this. (Spoiler alert! I wouldn’t recommend it.)
I’d love to set up a brief chat (they rarely are) to discuss sponsorship collaboration possibilities or possible promotional crossovers (I don’t even know you!). We could jump on the phone, anytime tomorrow (I’m booked for the next four months. No thanks.) I look forward to hearing from you (do you? do you really?)
Let’s try that same closing loop, once again. And this time, with feeling.
We’ve got 500 savvy + devoted entrepreneurs attending our conference, in May. (ooh!) We’ll be featuring 10 sponsors, and spotlighting each of ‘em with a mega-watt bulb — with an onstage banner, a featured spot in our newsletter, and lots of social media love. (aah!)
If you’d like to partner with us, and reach our fabulous ‘preneurs (and their collective online audiences — totaling in the millions) (eee!) hit me back with an email. I’ll send you our sponsor guidelines, with all the money + timing details. And we’ll rock it from there. (sold!)
HELL YES & HALLELUJAH!
Rejection is inevitable, and it usually has very little to do with you, personally.
That being said, if it’s happening constantly, it’s worth taking a second look at how you’re communicating.
And trying another approach. Or making another kind of offer, altogether.
“All great innovations are built on rejections.”
–Louis Ferdinand Celine
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