Rejection: How to Handle a “No”!

Business Strategy, Customer Service, Networking, ObservationsComments (0) • July 27, 2015 •

Rejection is the worst. Nobody likes it – but in the business world, the way you handle rejection can make or break you.

As a business owner, I have to face rejection a lot – it’s part of the gig. Consequently, I have to give rejections all of the time, not only for sales offers for my business, but also on behalf of my clients.

If you include my commissioned sales job in college, I’ve been dealing with over a decade of rejection. Whether is a sales pitch that didn’t work in your favor, a cold call or a job interview, here are some “Dos and Don’ts” for those who are handed a “no” in the business world:

  • Don’t take it personally. The statement “It’s nothing personal – its just business” is very true! Sure – relationships are extremely important, and business decisions are often made on likeability. But depending on the occasion, there are also plenty of instances where you simply didn’t interview well, your numbers couldn’t compete, or the budget doesn’t work in your favor.
  • Do: Humble yourself. A rejection is an ample opportunity for a learning experience. If they don’t give a reason, don’t be afraid to ask “why” or if there was anything you could have done differently.
  • Don’t assume a thing. You have no right to be upset with a “no” because you were assuming a “yes!”  A handful of times this year I dealt with sales reps that simply assumed a renewal would be on its way. There was no “fight” for the business, just poor communication, minimal follow-ups, and non-aggressive offers. Yet they were shocked when they didn’t get a renewal. Why would they or should they get the business?  Give it your all – no matter what!
  • Do: Look at the big picture. Just because you didn’t get the business this year, doesn’t mean you don’t have a shot at it next year. Being angry or hostile with the client will not help your case for future sales opportunities.
  • Don’t: do the following:

Background: This person from a local media company emailed a proposal to one of my clients to advertise on his station. We did not request any of this information to be sent, and we had no previous relationship or meeting with this person that would imply an opportunity.

Many times, business owners or ad agencies will simply ignore these queries, however I usually try to give some sort of response:


Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.03.14 AM



His reply:

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.03.34 AM

Don’t do…that!





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July 27, 2015

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