“How you handle rejection will define your career.”
The old agent who taught me the business told me that on my first day, after we had heard “no” a dozen times. I was reminded of that lesson when I embarked on my publishing journey and discovered that whether the new world of your dreams is writing an inspirational novel or making a sales quota, the lessons are the same. I chose to publish my book independently.
It was a business decision, plain and simple. The traditional route is slow and laborious, with multiple gatekeepers. I regularly speak to large groups of people and didn’t want to wait three to five years to get a story in their hands that I believe will make a difference for them.
I’ve been selling benefits my entire adult life, so if I have a story to tell and an audience to hear it, my first priority is to find a way around the gatekeeper and directly to that audience. In the beginning, though, I tried the traditional route because I was new to publishing.
Over the course of two years, I got an agent, waited impatiently as he pitched it to publishers and then listened carefully to their reasons for rejecting it. That feedback caused me to rethink and rewrite, which made The Tinderbox Tapes a better novel in the end. I like to think that if an editor picked up my book today, they would say, “How come he didn’t send me this story?”
In our sales workshops, we teach that practice is just as valuable as a sale.
Read that again. It’ll change your life. We all know that the more you do something, the better you get. And each time you meet with a decision maker and they say no, two things happen:
1. You get the practice.
2. You get feedback that will help you make the next one better.
So don’t fear rejection. Don’t let it stop you from making that call. Remember that you’re getting better with each “no” you hear.
Comedians say the tough crowds make you better.
If you present “on stage” for a living, you know what they mean. While the good crowds are what we all dream of—the ones who “get it,” who laugh and cry and nod their heads in all the right places and sign the application at the end of the presentation—it’s the tough crowd that makes us rethink and rewrite. Maybe you’re offering a new product or service because PPACA has led you there.
I know it wasn’t your idea, and it’s out of your comfort zone, so the presentation won’t flow well at first. There will be questions you can’t answer. And as a result, you will fail to close some cases you thought you should have. It’s not the end of the world. You got practice, and you can ask yourself, “What do you need to rethink and rewrite?”
I know it’s not convenient to do, but the question isn’t, “Is it convenient?” The question is, “Are you capable?” So give it a shot; I bet you’ll astound yourself today.