Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Everyone in business will, at some point or another, deal with rejection. We tend to take rejection very personally in the creative photo and video industries, because often times we’re connected to our work emotionally. We feel like when someone rejects our work they are rejecting us. But today on The Slanted Lens I’m going to give you some tips on how to distance yourself from feeling that way, and how to use rejection to actually make your business better.
Ten Ways to Handle Rejection in the Photo Video Industry
- Remember it’s okay to lose at times. We live in a world where every kid gets a trophy, but that’s not the reality of day to day life when you’re a business owner. Don’t look at it as a personal assault, or even necessarily as a commentary on your portfolio. Accept that it’s just part of the process.
- Don’t become emotional. According to Psychology Today, “MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.” They also said that rejection can temporarily lower I.Q., and inhibit the ability to think reasonably. I once got a call from an art director, telling me I hadn’t gotten the job. I didn’t handle it very well. By the end of the call I was more embarrassed by the way I had reacted than that I hadn’t been hired. Leave emotion out of it, especially when you’re talking to the client.
- Remember it’s not always about your work. Trying to figure out why you didn’t get the job can drive you crazy. There are so many reasons the client may have chosen someone else that might have nothing to do with your work. Personality, convenience, price, not wanting to travel- the list goes on. You’re not always rejected because the other person is better.
- Know that you are not right for every client. Sometimes you or your work just don’t connect with a client. You don’t always miss out on a job because your portfolio wasn’t as good as someone else’s. It could be that the client and another prospective photographer or videographer have something in common, you just don’t know how certain people will click. It does not mean that the client thinks your work isn’t any good. It just means that you weren’t right for that project or person.
- Don’t speculate, look at your process. Everyone in this business should have a process they go through when trying to land a client. After you lose out on a job it’s easy to sit there and think, “I should have said this or done that.” Instead, look for hard actionable items that could have helped you win. When I used to do big set productions I would put together visual boards for clients. If I didn’t create these boards I was less likely to get the job. So when I didn’t get jobs I would sit and go through my process. Do the same. If you’re not hitting every step in there get back to the basics. If you did then you know you did everything you could have to get the job.
- Ask for honest feedback from the client. Now that you’re past the emotional part of being rejected, get in touch with the client. Ask them their reason for saying no—and listen carefully to their answer. Then review what happened, what you did and what you could have done. You might be surprised at the insights they have for you. When I was doing huge set production projects, I started to hear from art directors that they were looking for a more natural, lifestyle type look. I heard that over and over. I started to see what was being published. The writing was on the wall and I knew I had to make some adjustments to stay in this business.
- Make calculated adjustments. Now that you know what the client is looking for, don’t become bipolar in your reaction. Evaluate what they say. Take the information and make calculated changes. When you hear the same things repeated, make some adjustments. Don’t do the same things over and over again and expect the same result.
- Send a thank you card to the client. Show some class when you don’t come out on top. Reach out to the client and let them know you were happy to meet them and that you hope you’ll be able to work together at a later date. Positive things come back to you, in the form of future jobs, or word of mouth that you were a class act.
- Let losing make you work harder. Let that energy from feeling rejected propel you to make more calls, meet more people, sending out more emails or flyers. Pretty soon you’ll be on a positive track and you’ll get more work.
- Remember that losing gets you closer to winning. It’s possible to quantify the average number of attempts it takes to get a sale. If you do this, you can look at every “no” as one step closer to a “yes.” Instead of being defeated by rejection, you’ll grow to see it as just one more step on the path to your ultimate goal.
I hope this list will help you to handle rejection. I wish I could tell you the secret for never letting it happen, but in reality it’s just a part of business. Instead of letting it drag you down, use rejection as a stepping stone and learning tool to take your business to the next level.
Head over to our Facebook community group and let us know how you handle rejection. Thanks for watching and remember, keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.