So someone said no… how to handle rejection in small business

So Someone Said No….How to Handle Rejection In Small Business

So someone said no. You asked someone to participate in a joint venture, tried to close a sale, invited someone to be your social media friend, and they said no. And you felt that uncomfortable feeling of having put yourself “out there” on a limb, only to look over and see that someone’s sawing the limb out from under you. It’s a weird, stomach-turning feeling, isn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be.

  1. Someone will always say no. Someone else will say yes.
    Previous results are no indicator of future success. So if you’ve gotten a bunch of nos, so what? You might get a yes tomorrow. And if one person says no, that has no bearing on what the next person will say.
  2. If you get a no, you’re no worse off than before you asked.
    This one I learned from my hubby Leo. Before you ask, you definitely have a no. If you don’t ask, the result is the same as if you get a no. If you ask and get a no, you’re in exactly the same boat. If you ask and get a yes, though, you’re off and running. If you put your ego out there, though, that’s when you get a little damaged. That’s why you have to move to #3.
  3. When you ask, don’t attach yourself to the answer.
    When you ask for the sale or whatever else it is, you can’t be attached to the answer or you will get hurt. The “no” rarely has anything to do with you. If you’ve invited a big name to be a part of a joint venture or a conference, they might say no because they’re overwhelmed with time commitments. If you’ve asked someone to hire you, they might say no because they can’t afford you. Don’t attach yourself to the answer, and you’ll handle those nos with grace.
  4. Handling a no with grace can mean future business.
    If someone says no now, they may be willing to say yes later. Handling a no with grace means you’ll have no hesitation about going back to them next month or next year to bring something else to the table.

It’s not exactly rejection when someone says no. It’s more than likely that the no has nothing to do with you anyway. If you stay detached from the results and stay engaged in your business relationships regardless of the outcome, you’ll have no problem continuing to go out on that limb over and over.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

We all deal with rejection at some point. But it’s never fun to deal with rejection in your business.

The way you handle rejection can make a big difference in your business and your life down the road. When you are rejected, it can feel like a blow to your self-esteem — and even to your dreams. If you give in to those feelings, you can lose your way.

Instead, learn to handle rejection in your business, and you will be more likely to thrive in the long run. Here are four tips that can help you:

1. Acknowledge Your Disappointment

The first thing to do is acknowledge your feelings and your disappointment. Everyone feels bad when they’ve been rejected. Whether your application for a small business loan was turned down or whether a potential partner backed out of a deal, it stings.

Pretending it doesn’t hurt won’t help anyone. Face your emotions head-on and figure out how you can move forward. It will help you improve your mental strength. Plus, it will keep you from going down a road in which you bottle everything up, causing bigger problems later.

2. Find the Lesson

Next, find the lesson in the rejection. Usually, there’s something you can learn from the experience. Maybe you didn’t have a strong business plan, so an investor decided to pull back. Perhaps you made a mistake in the way you handled a problem. In some cases, you might experience rejection in your business because you just haven’t grown enough.

Whatever the reason for the rejection, it’s important to look for ways to improve. Don’t use the rejection as a reason to quit. Instead, look at it as a chance to improve. Make some tweaks. Maybe you even need to start from scratch. But take the lesson and apply it so your next attempt isn’t as likely to fail.

3. Be Kind to Yourself

It’s not uncommon for rejection in your business to lead to negative self-talk. Don’t get caught in this trap. While you do need to acknowledge weaknesses and conditions that could be improved, rejection doesn’t mean that you are down for the count.

Look for ways to introduce more affirming self-talk so that you can move forward. Be kind to yourself. Don’t keep beating yourself up. We all make mistakes. We’re all rejected. And sometimes that rejection has more to do with external factors than internal factors.

Allow yourself some grace, pick yourself up. And then try again.

4. Don’t Let Rejection in Your Business Define You

If a member of your team leaves, or if an investor decides not to provide you with funds, don’t let that define you as unsuccessful. In fact, don’t take it as a sign of anything other that it wasn’t the right opportunity.

You’re only unsuccessful if you give up. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs had setbacks and experienced rejection. Rejection is a sign you’ve put yourself out there. You can’t succeed if you don’t take a few risks.

You don’t need to let rejection get you down. Sure, go out and feel bad for yourself for an evening. However, once you’re done with your short pity party, it’s time to get back to work building a successful business.

Hearing “no,” can hurt. It can dampen your spirits, and hinder your confidence. It’s the quickest route to second guessing yourself. The truth is, it’s unavoidable! Rejection is inevitable when you work in sales. While there’s no magic potion that can shield you from being told “no” ever, there are tools you can use when you’re faced with handling a rejection at work. Here are 11 ways to handle rejection when you work in sales:

Expect rejection and know your sales ratio

It’s impossible for a rep to always land a deal, and accepting that idea early on will set you up for success, even when you come face to face with a rejection. You’ve heard the saying, how many no’s will it take to finally get a yes? Estimating how many rejections you can expect can help immunize yourself to rejection. After all, what’s the worst to happen if someone says no? You simply move on until you find a yes.

Set long-term, personal goals that fit into your business objectives

You’ll find it’s hard to linger on a rejection when your sights are fixed on a bigger goal. To stay encouraged, consider creating larger goals to aspire towards. Some examples could be a vacation you’ve always hoped to take, or finally taking out a lease on the car you’ve been eyeing. That way, you’re incentivized to keep working hard, and find a yes – even amidst adversity.

Don’t take it personally

It’s an old adage, but it remains true: failure can teach you things that success can’t. Instead of kicking yourself when you’re down, give yourself a break, and look for the learning opportunity in the situation. Maybe your pitch was too long, maybe your delivery wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

Identify what areas went “wrong” and work to adjust. Sales teams at Xactly turn to Inspire to learn the experience of their peers when a deal is made, or lost.

The Harvard Business Review notes that videos and applications noticeably improve the comprehension and retention. When sales reps can look at the details of a win or a loss collaboratively with their peers, they’re more likely to remember what worked for next time.

Set a routine

I’m particularly partial to this tip. I love a set routine. Can you relate? I find sticking to a routine (eating well, drinking water, making the bed, doing laundry on Sunday mornings) keeps me zen, productive, and overall feeling positive. The same idea can be said for your routine at work.

Set short-term goals during your day that are within reach given your schedule and overall objectives. For example, aim to make 15 calls in 45 minutes, then giving yourself a short brain-break to take a walk around the office. Then repeat.

It’s more than likely some of those 15 calls will be flat out rejections – no worries! Wrap up the call gracefully, and move on. Having smaller goals that you can devote adequate time for can keep you motivated, and crushing your goals.

Build relationships

Rejection hurts, plain and simple. It’s easy to let your emotions get in the way when faced with a big, fat no. Resist the urge to retaliate or become closed off from your contact. It’s important to keep in mind that your prospect is doing what is best for their team and their organization, just like you are!

Feel encouraged to follow through and see why they’re resistant to move forward with you, but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to solve their problems. A contact who may not be interested today, could be interested tomorrow, if their conditions change. Even if the deal is a loss, investing in relationships is always a win.

Network with others in your shoes

When you’re going through a rough time, sometimes to feel better, all it takes is picking up the phone and talking it out with a friend. Relating over your shared experience in sales can help you feel part of something bigger – that you’re not the only person going through similar motions in your job! Talking with your peers helps to normalize the rejection that you may face from time to time.

Recognize your progress – big or small

There’s no better feeling than crossing something off your to-do list. As you go about your day, the more tasks you get done, the more productive you feel. Regardless of how successful your sales day may be, make a point to walk through your accomplishments, no matter how small they are. Progress is progress – so give yourself credit!

Prepare and deliver a good response to rejection

Sometimes the possibility of rejection can be more stressful than the actual rejection. Regardless of how direct or indirect a rejection may be, preparing a thoughtful, friendly response will serve you well. Keeping a what-if scenario ready to go in your back pocket will give you the confidence you need.

Be emotionally distant

While it’s important to be invested in your prospects (and their success), getting too emotionally involved puts you in a vulnerable position. Focus on one prospect at a time, and remember that at any moment, they hold the power to move away from the relationship. Not getting to emotional will help when it comes to being rejected.

Remember there’s opportunity in timing

Timing is everything! Sales is no exception. Sometimes the prospect has no control over the decision to follow through with your proposal or not. Create an ideal customer profile, and then start moving through your list. Just because it’s not a right fit for one prospect, doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity for another.

Always be mission-minded

To end, remember that rejection is inevitable. It’s just a part of the sales process. That being said, the possibility of rejection should consume you. Practice keeping the goals of your organization, of your department, and your closer team at the front of your mind. When you have a larger goal guiding you, you won’t have time to sweat the small stuff.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

An entrepreneur’s life is one of frequent rejection from both potential customers and potential investors. So learning to handle rejection correctly is an essential survival skill.

Just ask Julie Corbett, founder and CEO of Ecologic Brands, which produces molded-paper bottles with a plastic pouch inside as packaging for products traditionally sold in plastic bottles. The cardboard bottles are fully recyclable, and made from recycled cardboard boxes, using as much as 70% less plastic than the bottles they replace.

Corbett was inspired to create the bottle after seeing the molded fiber cardboard in the packaging of her new iPhone and was struck by both its appeal and its potential as a packaging material. She suffered from poor timing, though: She launched her company in the spring of 2008, just in time for the financial crisis. Investors turned her down flat.

“All entrepreneurs believe they have the best idea in the world,” she says now. “What tests you is always rejection. You either continue to be bull-headed, or you give up.”

How can you handle rejection without letting it bring you down? Try these tips:

1. Accept that you’ll hear ‘no’ much more often than ‘yes.’

Most founders looking for new investors or new customers get turned down more often than not. This was especially true for Corbett who did not initially have a product to show. “When I was trying to convince angels to give us money, I had my iPhone molded fiber case in one hand and a plastic pouch in the other and I was saying, ‘Imagine a bottle using these two elements.'” Most of them couldn’t, she says. “There’s a small sliver of people who can visualize something like that and go there with you. The vast majority don’t have the bandwidth or the interest or the belief.”

2. Take it as a compliment.

Yup, you read that right. Of course, a bad idea will get lots of rejection–but so will anything truly innovative. Most investors–and even TechCrunch Disrupt judges–are much more comfortable with a slight variation on a proven business idea than with anything genuinely new.

“The me-too products for Ecologic will have life so much easier than I did,” Corbett says. “Creating something completely new you take a lot of cuts and scrapes along the way because you have to prove that your product fills an unmet need. It’s like taking a machete through the jungle.”

3. Show off your product whenever you can.

Throughout the process, and to this day, Corbett carries an Ecologic bottle wherever she goes. “Investors might say no, co-manufacturers might say no, but whenever people saw the bottle peeking out of my bag on the street or on BART, they’d always ask me about it.” Once, she walked through a factory carrying a bottle and many of the factory workers left their posts to take a closer look. So Corbett knew for sure that consumers would love it. “That’s one thing that sustained me,” she says.

4. Surround yourself with believers.

“Naysayers are important because they’re a sounding board and they tell you what to focus on,” Corbett says. “You have to listen to them but you can’t take it to heart. You have to surround yourself with people who believe in you, not just people saying ‘Oh, that’s cool!’ but those who are actually willing to help.”

For Corbett, creating that “ecosystem” of supporters was instrumental. Among them were the leaders of Straus Family Creamery, who agreed to a test, delivering milk to people’s homes in Ecologic bottles. Response was overwhelmingly positive. “I hoped that would lead to the funding I needed,” Corbett says. “But a lot of investors said, ‘Fine–you’ve shown that a bunch of consumers will use it at home, but will they buy it?'”

So Corbett went back to Straus and the creamery used its relationship with Whole Foods to get an in-store test. Because Straus milk is unhomogenized, and the cream top might confuse some consumers, Corbett decided to test the bottles on nonfat milk only. “There was no promotion whatsoever, but during the test they sold 72% more nonfat milk than they usually do,” she says.

Those results got attention not only from investors but also from Packaging Digest. The trade magazine’s story on Ecologic caught the eye of many manufacturers, including Seventh Generation, which began using the bottles for some of its laundry detergent line. Thanks to this giant customer, Ecologic recently celebrated the sale of its millionth bottle. And stay tuned, Corbett says: More brands will begin using Ecologic bottles over the next few months.

How to Handle Rejection in Sales

In sales, you’re going to hear a lot of rejection. But the way you handle rejection in sales can make or break your success. Check out these tips.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

Rejection in sales is an inevitability. Even the top-performing sales reps will hear no every once in a while, but they continue to sell because they’ve created sales rejection strategies. But how you handle that rejection can make or break your success. Brush it off and keep selling, and you’ll succeed. Let it fester and ruin your confidence, and you’ll fail.

You need to know a lot in sales—the latest best practices, trends, opportunities, tools, technologies—but knowing how to handle rejection in sales might be one of the most important things you can learn. Rejection is more powerful than you think and it can get you spiraling downwards.

When you’re hearing a steady stream of no after no, don’t get discouraged. Use these strategies for coping with rejection in sales instead.

Know Your Ratio

Because rejection is inevitable in sales, you can’t eliminate it, no matter how great of a sales professional you are. But what you can do to cushion the blow is to understand your sales ratio so you know how much rejection you should actually come to expect in your career. Estimate on average how many times you’ll close a deal compared to how many times you’ll try to make the sale. If you know that you will, on average, hear no 30 times before hearing yes, you might not take the rejection so personally—you’ll take it in stride, as part of the business.

Set Long-Term Goals

Reframing the way you think might help you cope with rejection in sales. Setting long-term goals that go beyond your business objectives, like getting the sale, can help you stay focused and push through challenging times. Maybe your goal is to buy a new car or a new TV—that’s likely not going to happen with just one sale, so that one rejection you just got shouldn’t be seen as that big of a deal. Look at the bigger picture and you’ll stay motivated in the face of rejection.

Create a Routine

When you’re hearing a lot of rejection, it’s easy to start procrastinating on those prospecting calls and emails just so you don’t have to hear no that day. The fear of rejection can be a powerful thing—one that keeps you from being productive. Set yourself up in a routine. Start making calls at 10am, every single day, until noon, for example. So no matter how you feel about making those calls, you’ll still do it.

Reach Out to Others

It’s easy to start blaming yourself and seeing yourself as a failure when you’re faced with so much rejection. But knowing that other people are in your boat can help you fend off this negative self-blaming. Talk to your coworkers and other sales people to talk about the times you’ve been rejected, so you know that you’re not alone. This normalizes what you’re going through.

Keep Track of Daily Achievements

Focusing on the achievements you did make, no matter how small, can help you recognize progress and give you a psychological boost. Even if you didn’t make a sale that day, you still made some accomplishments that you should acknowledge, like getting better at speaking on the phone without nervousness or hesitation or making someone on the other line of the phone laugh. When you focus on the positive instead of the negative, you won’t let rejection get you down.

Ask Why

You probably hear rejection and just thank the prospect for his time and hang up. But asking him why he said no to your proposal can help in one of two ways. One, you hear that the reason why has absolutely nothing to do with you—maybe it’s about budget or because they recently bought a similar product. Two, if it is something that you said that turned him off, you can make changes in order to improve your performance in the future.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.

Research finds that rejection affects intelligence, reason, and more.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

We know that rejection really hurts, but it can also inflict damage to our psychological well-being that goes beyond emotional pain. Here are 10 lesser known facts that describe the effects rejection has on our emotions, thinking, and behavior.

Let’s begin by examining why rejection hurts as much as it does:

1. Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking). In fact our brains respond so similarly to rejection and physical pain that…

2. Tylenol reduces the emotional pain rejection elicits. In a study testing the hypothesis that rejection mimics physical pain, researchers gave some participants acetaminophen (Tylenol) before asking them to recall a painful rejection experience. The people who received Tylenol reported significantly less emotional pain than subjects who took a sugar pill. Psychologists assume that the reason for the strong link between rejection and physical pain is that…

3. Rejection served a vital function in our evolutionary past. In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone. Evolutionary psychologists assume the brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk for ostracism. Because it was so important to get our attention, those who experienced rejection as more painful (i.e., because rejection mimicked physical pain in their brain) gained an evolutionary advantage—they were more likely to correct their behavior and consequently, more likely to remain in the tribe. Which probably also explains why…

4. We can relive and re-experience social pain more vividly than we can physical pain. Try recalling an experience in which you felt significant physical pain and your brain pathways will respond, “Meh.” In other words, that memory alone won’t elicit physical pain. But try reliving a painful rejection (actually, don’t—just take my word for it), and you will be flooded with many of the same feelings you had at the time (and your brain will respond much as it did at the time, too). Our brain prioritizes rejection experiences because we are social animals who live in “tribes.” This leads to an aspect about rejection we often overlook…

5. Rejection destabilizes our “Need to Belong.” We all have a fundamental need to belong to a group. When we get rejected, this need becomes destabilized and the disconnection we feel adds to our emotional pain. Reconnecting with those who love us, or reaching out to members of groups to which we feel strong affinity and who value and accept us, has been found to soothe emotional pain after a rejection. Feeling alone and disconnected after a rejection, however, has an often overlooked impact on our behavior…

6. Rejection creates surges of anger and aggression. In 2001, the Surgeon General of the U.S. issued a report stating that rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Countless studies have demonstrated that even mild rejections lead people to take out their aggression on innocent bystanders. School shootings, violence against women, and fired workers going “postal” are other examples of the strong link between rejection and aggression. However, much of that aggression elicited by rejection is also turned inward…

7. Rejections send us on a mission to seek and destroy our self-esteem. We often respond to romantic rejections by finding fault in ourselves, bemoaning all our inadequacies, kicking ourselves when we’re already down, and smacking our self-esteem into a pulp. Most romantic rejections are a matter of poor fit and a lack of chemistry, incompatible lifestyles, wanting different things at different times, or other such issues of mutual dynamics. Blaming ourselves and attacking our self-worth only deepens the emotional pain we feel and makes it harder for us to recover emotionally. But before you rush to blame yourself for. blaming yourself, keep in mind the fact that…

8. Rejection temporarily lowers our IQ. Being asked to recall a recent rejection experience and relive the experience was enough to cause people to score significantly lower on subsequent IQ tests, tests of short-term memory, and tests of decision making. Indeed, when we are reeling from a painful rejection, thinking clearly is just not that easy. This explains why…

9. Rejection does not respond to reason. Participants were put through an experiment in which they were rejected by strangers. The experiment was rigged—the “strangers” were confederates of the researchers. Surprisingly, though, even being told that the “strangers” who had “rejected” them did not actually reject them did little to ease the emotional pain participants felt. Even being told that the strangers belonged to a group they despised such as the KKK did little to soothe people’s hurt feelings. Still, the news is not all bad, because…

10. There are ways to treat the psychological wounds rejection inflicts. It is possible to treat the emotional pain rejection elicits and to prevent the psychological, emotional, cognitive, and relationship fallouts that occur in its aftermath. To do so effectively we must address each of our psychological wounds (i.e., soothe our emotional pain, reduce our anger and aggression, protect our self-esteem, and stabilize our need to belong).

For more about treating the psychological wounds rejection inflicts, see Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts.

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J.K. Rowling was famously rejected by twelve publishers when she wrote the first book in a series that would ultimately give her a net worth of $1 billion. It is a far cry from the single parent living off of food stamps. Stephen King’s first novel Carrie was rejected some thirty times by publishers before being accepted by Doubleday and going on to become a bestseller with a successful film. John Le Carré was rejected with a savage comment by the publisher when he passed it off to his agent, “You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.” The Spy Who Came in from the Cold would become a masterpiece winning literary awards. Carré himself would become a father-figure of the modern spy-thriller.

With every rejection a “no” accompanies it. Whether someone is a writer or in sales. It comes with the territory. Rejection occurs every day to people whether they know it or not. In relationships or dating, someone may be rejected for a suitable partner for a myriad of reasons. It does not matter where one went to school or where they live. Rejection is just part of life.

Since rejection is a part of life, then, how does one handle that “no” reply? How do they accept a rejection they don’t want? In sales, a no essentially means no money, and in romantic pursuits, a no means someone doesn’t want to have a free dinner with another. What is to be remembered is a no is a yes later on.

Rejection then is an event, not an identifier. If someone is rejected in sales, it might be for several other reasons than a terrible idea or product. It takes at least ten times to be rejected before a yes. Oftentimes, a no can turn into a yes with proper time (don’t pester the person to say yes). Sales is an emotional experience more than a professional experience, and at times it takes time for someone to feel comfortable before saying yes to something.

It is very important to never push someone into a yes that they will regret, but rather seek to remedy what is causing the hesitation. As a business owner, it is important to remember you are there to help them, not just get a paycheck. Listen to their concerns and consider them. Perhaps you need to tweak something in your approach or the product.

One must simply be comfortable with rejection and failure to be successful. Being rejected is painful but the emotions it brings needs to be checked and analyzed. How can next time be better? Could a selling point be tweaked more advantageous? Being rejected is not a moment to despair but to reconfigure and seek how best to help the potential client.

Henry Ford once said, “Those who never make mistakes work for those of us who do.” While a rejection might not be caused by a mistake, it can certainly feel like a mistake has been made. Did I say the wrong thing? Did I get something in my presentation wrong? Maybe but success isn’t a short-term game, but a long-term investment. All the failures or mistakes made along the way are investments of experience and knowledge that prepare that yes, for that success.

So someone said no... how to handle rejection in small business

According to our latest research over at, the proportion of business owners getting an unsolicited offer to buy their business is up to 16 percent for the quarter ending June 30, 2014. That’s a 37 percent increase over last quarter.

Big companies have cash to burn. Interest rates are at record lows and stock markets are at their highest point in history, which means virtually every acquisition deal is accretive for a big public company.

With all kinds of cheap money sloshing around in the financial system, the chances that you will receive an offer for your business is at its highest point since we started measuring the liquidity of private businesses back in 2012. What should you do–and what should you not do–if you get approached by someone who wants to buy your business? Here are three mistakes to avoid:

1. Signing a Letter Of Intent Too Early

Most acquirers will try to buy your business without competitors bidding up the price of your company (they call this a “proprietary deal”). The acquirers will ask you to sign a nonbinding Letter Of Intent (LOI), which almost always provides the acquirer 60 days of unfettered access to your books to perform their due diligence, during which time you can no longer negotiate with any other buyers.

The longer the due diligence drags on, the higher the chances the buyer will lower their bid knowing your other potential suitors may have moved on. Eventually you’ll have to sign an LOI, but do so only after a competitive bid process ensures you’re getting the highest price possible for your company.

2. DIYing It

It’s tempting to avoid the fees of an M&A professional and negotiate the sale of your business on your own. After all, you’re the one who built the business and you may be squeamish about handing over a big chunk of the proceeds to a guy or gal who shows up at the last minute to help you sell your life’s work.

M&A professionals get paid through a combination of a nonrefundable “work fee” (maybe $50,000 over six months) and a success fee from which the work fee can usually be deducted. The success fee is usually a percentage of the proceeds of a sale–maybe 4 or 5 percent on a $10 million business.

Why would you hand over 5 percent of your company to a guy or gal who has done nothing to help you build it? First, an M&A pro is going to set up a competitive bid process, which will (hopefully) garner you multiple bids. The presence (or even the threat) of another buyer forces the acquirer to sharpen his pencil, and it can easily add another $500K to your deal.

Next, an M&A professional is going to act as a foil between you and the buyer. There may be times during the process of selling your business that you want to lean across the table and throttle the guy on the other side. It’s a natural reaction to the clinical approach most buyers take to a negotiation. When you feel your temperature rising, you can walk away and let your M&A professional express your displeasure with a cooler head. Your M&A pro can also play the role of “bad cop” when you need to be insulated from a prickly negotiation point and ensure that you stay on good terms with the company you’ll most likely end up working with for a certain amount of time after the sale.

3. Playing Too Hard To Get

Given the first two points above, you may be tempted to rebuff any approach from an acquirer, but that too may be a mistake. Business buyers have plenty of options and may dismiss an acquisition opportunity outright if the owner seems overly arrogant or standoffish.

There is nothing wrong with grabbing lunch or a drink with a potential acquirer. At the very least, you can use it as a fishing expedition to learn more about their company. When the conversation turns to your business, keep things high-level while gently steering the conversation back to them.

If an acquirer asks you a direct question like, “Would you consider selling your business?” or “How much do you want for your company?” you can thank the person for their interest and assure them that any offer they make will be taken seriously by both you and your board. If you don’t have a board, that’s okay; the buyer doesn’t need to know that, and saying you’ll need to consult your board will buy you enough time to engage an M&A professional to represent you.

Getting an offer to buy your business is both flattering and exciting. Play it right, and you may be able to turn a casual inquiry into your biggest payday yet.

The difference between actors and other working professionals is that they usually spend more time looking for their next job than actually working one. They get a lot more practice with rejection than your average worker, which means we may able to learn a thing or two from them.

Don’t Take It Personally

No matter what business you’re in, taking rejection personally is a bad road to go down. Not only will you start to hold a grudge toward the people that didn’t hire you, but you’ll also start to put yourself down. Nothing is more harmful than you telling yourself that you’re not good enough.

If you’re rejected for a job, remember that rejection isn’t about you as a person. At the Backstage blog, Secret Agent Man explains that rejection can be caused by a number of things :

If a casting director doesn’t give you a callback, she might be rejecting a choice you made in the room. Or maybe you’re too young for the part. Or too old. It could be anything, but I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not you. The casting director doesn’t think you’re a despicable human being who shouldn’t be allowed to grace her precious set. She’s just making a choice. And the same is true for guys like me. Agents pass on actors for all kinds of reasons. The quality of your soul is rarely one of them.

Interviews are just like auditions, and sometimes you’re just not right for the part. When it comes to your romantic life, remember that while rejection may hurt, it’s preventing you from being in a relationship with a compatibility problem. Both parties need to be interested for anything good to really happen, so if you get turned down, move on to the next audition. If you keep going out for roles, you’ll eventually land one.

Change Your Perception

Even when you start to get used to rejection, it can still sting. It sucks to get told no, but if you can find a way look at your rejection differently, you’ll have a much easier time. George Clooney is a household name these days, but was once a rejection-riddled actor, barely getting by. That is until he started to change his perspective.

In The Obstacle Is the Way , author Ryan Holiday talks about the simple, yet effective alteration Clooney made to his mindset:

He wanted the producers and directors to like him, but they didn’t and it hurt and he blamed the system for not seeing how good he was. This perspective should sound familiar. It’s the dominant viewpoint for the rest of us on job interviews, when we pitch clients, or try to connect with an attractive stranger in a coffee shop. Everything changed for Clooney when he tried a new perspective. He realized that casting is an obstacle for producers, too—they need to find somebody, and they’re all hoping that the next person to walk in the room is the right somebody. Auditions were a chance to solve their problems, not his.

With a new mindset, rejection can be something very different to you. Not only will you be able to walk into an interview or up to an attractive stranger with confidence, but if it doesn’t work out, you can just remind yourself that you weren’t able to solve their problem. Everything is just an opportunity to solve a problem, and you can either solve it or you can’t. That’s all there is to it.

Prepare for Your Next Audition

Even with a new approach, rejection can still hurt a little, and that’s okay. If you need to feel down for a little bit, do it. Get those feelings out instead of bottling them up, but don’t dwell too long. Once you’re ready, do a quick post-mortem, and, as actress Jules Bausch at The Muse explains, look at the good and the bad :

I went home, and after I made a list of everything I did correctly, I made a list of everything I didn’t do correctly. I was really honest with myself (without being too harsh) about where I could have improved and specific areas that I needed to work on for the next audition. Mistakes are part of being human. They are part of who we are and are integral to our learning process. And keeping a list of those mistakes will help you learn from them and make you a better actor in the process. Chalk each rejection up to building a wealth of knowledge about how to attack the next audition.

Go over what went right and what went wrong, then let it go. It’s also important to manage your expectations. Getting the job, snagging the role, or landing the date can be unlikely depending on the circumstances. If you’re not qualified for a position or taking a shot in the dark with a stranger, it’s best not to get your hopes up. Know the roles you’re capable of playing and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t end up a leading lady or man.

While you’re preparing for your next shot at the limelight, use your past rejections as a motivator. Carry yourself with confidence and keep your mind on the next audition. Do the prep work and focus forward.

Speaking from my own experience as an actor, you have to learn that rejection is just a part of the process. Failure to accept the reality of rejection means a career that’s dead in the water, and that can be said to some extent for any job field or other parts of life. Brush yourself off, soldier on, and walk into that next “audition” like you’ve never been told no before.