Don’t Do the HQ2 {How not to let rejection reshape your business}

As Amazon made the rejection rounds last week, cities throughout the nation were taking to heart the things that made them not a fit for the fabled HQ2.

 That’s right! We’re turning those frowns upside down. {Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash }

That’s right! We’re turning those frowns upside down. {Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash}

They don’t have enough tech talent. Their public transportation isn’t up to snuff. People don't heart your airport.

As these cities dig into soul-searching over this single rejection, I'm seeing something that looks a little too familiar.

Detroit, for instance, was told they needed better transportation to bring more tech talent in from the communities surrounding the city. This launched a flood of opinions on whether Detroit will -- or even should -- build the best public transportation system any human has ever had the pleasure to experience, a life-changing golden train of majesty that even the all-powerful Amazon would be proud to feature in an employer branding campaign. Even though the HQ2 will have been settled somewhere else long before such a system could ride its first ride.

Should a city make major changes because of one rejection? What if you ran your business that way?

We solo entrepreneurs go through this almost on the daily. Why is it so hard to take a rejection and keep on keepin' on?

When you get rejected, it’s easy to spin out and question...everything.

Ever had this happen to you?

You do a discovery call. You give it your all. You listen. You give some great advice. You have your helpful hat on the whole time. You know you can help them. And yet...they say no.

And you spin out.

I’m really good at this. Why didn’t they want what I have to offer? Am I doing the wrong thing? Maybe I should change what I’m doing or how I do it or maybe I should buy this course on this other person's business model maybe that will fix everything or….

What if I’m on the wrong track? What if no one wants what I’m selling? What if the happy clients behind me are just anomalies? What if this one no is the wave of the future, a harbinger of things to come?

Should I be charging less? Charging more? Maybe it’s my sales process. Did I sell too hard? Did I not do enough to explain why I’m worth it?

I thought they were perfect for me. Maybe I don’t even know who my dream client is after all. Or maybe I do, but I'm doing all the wrong stuff. Do they need this thing I’m doing? Actually…

Maybe I need to revamp my website. Maybe I’m just not pulling in the right people. It’s got to be this homepage...

Yup, you're spinning out. 

Before you take drastic measures, take a breath.

Understand that this reaction is ok. There's nothing wrong with you if you spin out like this. It’s not you. It’s human nature. And you can make good decisions about what to do next when you understand what's happening.

We’re hardwired to accentuate the negative….and eliminate the positive.

We’re hardwired to avoid loss

We actually tend to evaluate the worth of a potential loss as being bigger than that of a potential gain. {Even if you already know loss aversion, keep reading. You need to be reminded. We all do.}

So, that one no looms larger than it should. It seems enormous.

That one no seems way bigger than those happy clients who are already working with you right now. You inflate how important it is to you. That's why you might think to yourself, "I needed that new contract; it was going to change everything."

Plus, we’re hardwired to focus on the negative.

So when we get that one no, it crowds out all the other times people have said yes to us. We fixate on the no we got today, and maybe all the ones we got in the past, and we forget the good stuff. We forget all the great clients we’ve worked with and all the fabulous things they’ve said about us. We forget how well things work when they work, and when we work with the right people.

And just like that, we’re thinking maybe we should change everything to make sure we never get a no like that again. Right? {Probably not a great idea. But more on that later.}

People don’t know to want what they don’t know is there.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” Henry Ford is often quoted as saying.

Supposedly, if Ford had asked people what they wanted, we’d never have gotten the Model T. Or something. I don't know anything about cars. Although there’s probably no historical truth to this quote, the idea remains steadfast in our culture. And for good reason.

Did we all know we needed iPhones...could we even have imagined them? Did we know we needed Facebook or Instagram or Google? I didn’t even know I needed a French press until pretty recently.

That person who just said no to you? They might really need what you do. They just don’t get it yet.

They don’t get what you do, why they need you. They’re stuck on wanting what they want; what they know. They might get it later on down the road, when they’re feeling bad about the choice they made. And then they might come back to you. I’ve had that happen. True story...

My clients often come to me because they need to make their website better, or they need to start doing Facebook, or they want their emails to work better for them.

But what they need is a plan. They just didn’t know that what I do was an option. My marketing Master Plan process gives them the clarity and strategy they need before they start doing the things.

Still, sometimes, even after they learn that this is what I do and that I do things this way for some pretty solid reasons, someone might still say no. They just want to do the things that they want. They didn’t know that what I do is a thing and that’s not where their mind is at and it’s still not their thing once they know.

What's the point? It's this: You could change everything you do and how you’ve built your business because of that one big no. Or...you could keep making cars and let the horse-drawn carriage drivers stick with what they know. They'll get on board the fast train -- or, car -- eventually. Or not. But you won't be breeding horses.

Is changing everything after one rejection smart, necessary, or...crazypants?

If you {still} have to ask, you’ll never know. ;-) I kid, I kid!

Look at it this way: If a guy says no to you on Tinder or whatever the kids are on these days, do you hire a plastic surgeon to fix your face? Granted, I was last single back before texting was a thing, but still...I’m thinking that’s not what you do. What if that guy is for serious like totally the Amazon of guys? I’m still thinking no. Maybe that’s just me. Or maybe...

Maybe if one person chooses not to hire you, you don't change your whole business model.

I mean I guess you could. Or, you could say, cool, it’s not for you. And move on.

Keep on doing what you’re doing. Remember that one loss is almost never as large as it seems. Remember all the people who have hired you. Think of all the people who will hire you. Read and reread the nice things people have said about you and how happy they were to have hired you.

The exception is this: If that no was from your dream client, then you definitely want to do some thinking about why that one didn’t work out. Why didn’t they get what you do? Why didn’t they say yes to you? Was there anything you could’ve done differently? Did they say anything you can learn from? Don’t be afraid to ask, simply, why don’t they think you're the right fit right now. {PS: If it’s budget, just walk away gracefully. You’re worth what you’re worth.}

don't react to Rejection. learn from it.

It can be so tempting to change everything when you hear a “no.” Or brazenly ignore the haters and stick to you. But...

We can't shift direction like some wild high-stakes pinball machine. And we can't go charging through life completely ignoring every no we get.

@@Each rejection can be an opportunity for growth, even if it's not necessarily a mandate for change.@@

So learn from it. Take a pause to recognize that your brain is doing stuff you can't control. Then openly consider what happened, and look for what you can learn from it.


this stuff is complicated.
if you're WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER what you're doing is working, or who the right clients are for you, or how to get people to get what you're doing...

IT'S TIME FOR SOME HELP.