Rainmaking Recommendation #256: Dealing With Rejection

You’ve spoken to a potential client, and they seem to like you.

Or maybe, you’ve sent out an RFP and been chosen to discuss your proposal with the potential client(s) who sent out the offer.

Or maybe you’ve gotten a tentative yes to work with someone you consider an ideal client.

Or maybe, you’ve sent out a resume to work with the law firm of your dreams. 

And then, the bottom drops out.  They stop responding to your calls, they say they will call you back, they say you’re at the top of the list of lawyers, your email seems to be ignored, or the worst – they say they’ve decided to go with someone else.

Boy does this suck! And anyone who tells you that it doesn’t hurt, at least a little bit, is lying.  Because no one likes rejection.  But there are ways that Rainmakers deal with rejection that make it easier on them.

  • Rainmakers understand that they are 100% in control of their emotional response – when a Rainmaker gets rejected, they know that they can let it destroy their confidence or just brush it off and move forward to the next potential client. They do allow themselves to feel bad (because, as I said, rejection sucks!), but they do not wallow in the rejection.
  • Rainmakers do not put all of their eggs in one basket – they have several potential clients waiting in the queue and understand that this is only one of many people they will have the privilege of working with during their legal career.
  • Rainmakers understand that not every “No” means they never want to work with you – sometimes “NO” means not now.  But most rainmakers know that it means Next Opportunity.
  • Rainmakers don’t burn bridges – just because you didn’t get that opportunity now doesn’t mean that it won’t be there in the future. So, for example, if you were dealing with an assistant G.C. who likes you, they may wind up being GC one day (maybe not there but in another company).
  • Rainmakers also know that not every opportunity is a great opportunity, and sometimes being “rejected” means they dodged a bullet.
  • Rainmakers ask the tricky question: “Why did you go with someone else,” and allow the truth to be told.  Sometimes it IS them, but, most of the time, it is not.    
  • Rainmakers take responsibility for the rejection – they review the entire process and see if there are places where they could have done something differently and then work to make those changes.

I, like everyone else, hate being rejected.  But I am working on not taking it personally but viewing it as a way to get better.  Sure, I get sad or mad, but I am doing my best not to wallow in these feelings, which I have allowed myself to do in the past. 

And I also look up to my bulletin board which has the following quote by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: 

“If you FAIL, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “First Attempt in Learning.” END is not the end; in fact, E.N.D. means “Effort Never Dies”. If you get NO as an answer, remember N.O. means “Next Opportunity.”

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