Rejection is a tough thing to swallow, no doubt. Regardless of the context, hearing someone say ‘no’, or better yet, ‘no thanks’, can make my chin quiver and my fists clench, and that awful feeling of not being wanted can linger for hours or days. For anyone prone to ruminating and to trying to figure out the ‘why‘ behind the ‘no‘, rejection in my opinion can wreck havoc on many a normal person.
When I started Babycakes and Confections, I never would have imagined how thick of a skin I would need to survive in this industry. While I’ve never been a full-on rainbows and unicorns and cotton candy kinda girl, I’ve also never been someone who sees her cup half empty. I love what I do and am fiercely proud of my products, and my assumption is that everyone will agree that my cookies, brownies, etc are the best. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. And that is where the inner warrior in me emerges.
My husband is in charge of sales for Babycakes, and yesterday he received a lot of no’s from what we thought might be good potential customers. Some of the rejections were quick and lethal, but others went on and on about what they didn’t like about our products. Fun times? Not on any level. My husband has vowed never to shop at these stores again, to never even drive down the streets on which these stores reside. Me? I want to get in my car, drive to the stores, and talk these buyers into giving us a shot. I want to reject their rejection, find out their reasons why they don’t want to give us a shot, explain why they’ve clearly made a mistake, and wriggle my way onto their shelves, into their stores, and ultimately, into the baskets of their customers. I want to talk my way into their store, which is an interesting approach, especially when the buyers don’t answer their phone, don’t return emails, or hang up the phone on you. It’s hard to talk when they don’t want to listen.
I was told yesterday (through the grapevine otherwise known as my husband) that one of our buyers was joking about my lengthy emails. I can’t help it. I’m a word person. I’m a writer and I’m a talker. A true communicator, for the most part. My oldest son recently went to boarding school, and my texts to him trying to explain how to do laundry should be proof enough to anyone that I pretty much don’t know when to stop talking. So naturally, when I come across someone who doesn’t immediately love my products, I want more than the curt ‘no’. I want an explanation. I need to understand the reason behind the ‘no’ so that I can have some sense of where to file away the rejection in my head. Essentially, I think what I wish I could find out from each no I receive is whether there’s something I need to change on my end, is there something to learn, or does this have nothing to do with me, my product or my business. None of this can happen if the conversation is cut short.
So, what should the game plan be when confronted with rejection? Pick ourselves up, dust off our knees, and go back at it the next day? Are there any other choices? Here’s a thought…what if we consider each rejection in comparison to a success? Hopefully, we all have some successes going on in our lives, something that gives us joy, that makes us laugh, that reminds us of what we do and why. This won’t change the ‘no’ to a ‘yes’, but it may temper the hurt a bit and make it easier to make the next call. In the meantime, I’m going to make more coffee, keep baking, and clearly, keep talking.