Have you ever felt as though you were heading in the right direction…and then something burst your bubble? My latest startup confession may sound familiar.
Last month I was very excited!
I was so encouraged by the direction that my business was headed towards: I delivered two coaching workshops which were a massive hit, had several consultations with interested prospects, secured a lucrative contract with a new client and made some great new connections at the European Social Innovation Assembly in Amsterdam.
I was looking forward to January when my one-to-one program would be near capacity.
Then something happened to knock me off balance.
what did you say?
If you’ve ever had conversations with prospective clients or funders, you know it can feel like a delicate matter: will they say yes, or no?
After an initial consultation, one prospective client was ready to move ahead and get started on his 1×1 support journey. I sent over all of the paperwork and then he went quiet. After a couple of emails which confirmed he was still interested, I received a response I wasn’t expecting. He told me that he had reconsidered and that the timing is not right to take on this specific type of support. There are some other things he needs to focus on first.
In short, he said “NO”.
After the first moments of shock, I then started to worry about what I must have done wrong. Earlier on in my startup journey, I would have shouldered more of this blame, read more between the lines, and let my inner pessimist tell me that it was my fault and that I wasn’t good enough.
But then I remembered that sometimes we change our minds.
a moment in his shoes
Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to work with a marketing coach to help me refine my message and my brand identity. I wanted to make sure I was setting things up properly from the beginning so I would not be making costly mistakes that would need to be reworked further down the line.
I had an initial consultation, went away to think about it, had a follow up call with her a week later yet I was still on the fence. Something about what she was offering wasn’t quite right, but I wanted to get moving on this aspect of my business and decided to just go for it.
The same night that I said “yes”, I met someone else. This other person had exactly what I needed, spoke to me in words that resonated with me, and I practically signed up on the spot. I had to go back to the other provider and say that I changed my mind. I was going to get the right support in a format and structure that was right for me. I was going with someone else.
why hearing “no” is a good thing
Although it may knock your confidence and cause the inner pessimist to come out in force, sometimes it’s okay when people say “no”. Here’s why:
1. You can assess the situation.
Is there something you could have done differently. Did you do everything within your power to lead to a positive outcome? Does your process normally lead to more people saying “yes” than “no”? If not, what is one thing that you could do differently next time?
2. You want committed clients.
You are more likely to have greater results with clients who are 100% certain that what you are offering is exactly what they need. These clients will tell other people about you and the impact that you have made on their lives. They will sing your praise and this will lead to others taking an interest in what you’re doing.
3. You can refine your message.
When someone says no, check in that you’re speaking to those you most want to help – those you can have the greatest impact on. How clear are you about who you want to serve and why your business is the solution to their needs?
over to you…
As always, I’d love to hear from you. If you gave yourself permission to use a “no” as a learning opportunity, what insight would you uncover? Leave your response in the comments below.
ready to hear “yes” more often?
Do you need to refine your core message and become clear on where your business is heading? Learn how, with Simplicity.
…. “don’t take everything personally” … springs to mind too. Great post!
Danielle Anderson says
I would absolutely love to not take everything personally. Sometimes I find this quite tricky, especially in the early days of starting out when I’m sometimes unsure of what I’m doing. It’s getting easier though! 🙂
And also ‘it’s their loss!’ I think it helps to remember all the satisfied clients/customers at moments like this when confidence can take a negative turn. Just thinking about the words of gratitude or praise can help us to get a bit of self esteem back and realise that, as you say, we can never be right for everyone! The world would be a difficult place if everyone was right for everyone…
Danielle Anderson says
Yes! Wonderful Jennifer. Think of all of those words of gratitude that you have heard from other people to help boost your confidence again.
In my previous employment, I had a folder called “Feedback”. At the end of the year I would go through that folder to pull out evidence of all the people I helped and the impact I had made so I could use this to show my superiors how well I had performed. I am going to create a new folder for my business and collect the same tokens of appreciation. Rather than be evidence for others to acknowledge, its contents will be my personal reminder of why I’m doing this and who I’m doing it for.