Have you ever been so sure that you would get the job that once you were told that you had been passed over for another designer your heart sank? Well, if you have not had the chance to feel that feeling yet, you should prepare yourself now…because it is coming…client rejection. All designers, even the best of us get rejected for another designer. Even if you had the better design, the better price, sometimes it is hit and miss, and this time, you missed. Everyone has those days when you get rejected, so don’t let it get you down, instead, leave a lasting impression on the client because they will come to you first if they need a new design or the current designer just doesn’t work out.
In this article we show you what to do to make sure that you stand out above the competition when you are one of the ones that were turned away. This is harder then you may think, but could prove to be worth while in the long run. Hopefully you don’t need this list to often, but trust me, no one is immune to being one of the ones that were left out in the cold, especially in the latest economy.
Ever heard of that old saying about burning bridges? Well, that is even more true when you are a freelancer making a living off of your past clients and by word of mouth. Even if you never had someone as a client you may still be brought up in a conversation with someone that made need your services. You don’t want that conversation to be about how bad you are at handling rejection…so learn to take rejection like a champ and move on.
First Things First
Standing out in the other rejected designers or programmers all starts with a simple thank you…seriously…that is how you start. For example, just a few months ago, I placed a bid for a client and was rejected. I personally emailed her to tell her that I am glad she found a designer that would work the best for her and I hoped that she received the best work that anyone could give her. I closed the email by saying that if she ever needed anything in the future or the client does not work out then I would always be here to take on her work. A few weeks later, I got a call and got one of the best clients I could ask for, all because I was polite and my email stayed with her until the designer she picked could not hold up to her standards.
You would be surprised how far something so little could go. In the end, they are doing what they think is best for them and their interests. It is nothing personal, its just the way of business. So there is no need to ever resort to being mad or saying anything that would hurt you in the long run because you miss out on one client. Bad news spreads like wildfire, why be the one to light the match? This is called a gracious rejection, because you are grateful to have received their call in the first place.
Second thing on my list is the big question. Should I ask why I was rejected or not? In my experience I always ask why. It shows the client that you are always looking for ways to improve yourself by finding your flaws. Sometimes it will be something that you cannot help, but most of the time you can improve on something. There is never any harm in asking and most of the time the client will be happy to oblige with your request.
This part helps you see that the rejection has nothing to do with you as a person but maybe they just couldn’t afford your rates or your ETA was to long for them. So, if you see yourself really getting upset because you were rejected, ask them why. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Learn To Embrace Failure
Learn this saying, “The road to success is paved with failures.“. That means that in order to get where you want to go, you need to take a few on the head and survive it. Once you learn that, you will become a better designer.
Even the greatest people known to man have had their fair share of failure and rejection. Here is a list of famous rejections:
- Warren Buffet was rejected from Harvard Business School
- Jimi Hendrix was booed off the stage and dropped from a Monkees tour
- Elvis was kicked from the Grand Ole Opry
- Henry Ford‘s early business failed and left him broke before he founded Ford Motor Company
- Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas
- Colonel Sanders (KFC) had his recipe rejected 1,009 times before making it big
- Bill Gates failed with his first business called Traf-O-Data before he created Microsoft
The list goes on, and on, and on…so take rejection as a stepping stone to your future and bounce back even better then before.
Be Yourself Above All Else
People can spot fake and can see that you are not genuine about your rejection. Take the hit on the cheek and tell them that you appreciate their time and wish them well…but do it in a sincere way. If you fake it you could be seen as a snake in the grass and that could also hurt you in the long run. If you show them that you are concerned with their well being and you are happy that they found a match then they may in turn show you the same when the next opportunity arises.
- Stand out by thanking them and offering your assistance in the future.
- Ask questions about your rejection. It is not a personal assault against you so don’t take it like one.
- Learn from your failures and rejections and strive to become a better person.
- Be genuine about your rejection. Fakers are snakes in the grass and your clients can tell.
- DON’T burn bridges, you never know who they know
About the Author
Director of Website Development
With over a decade of experience designing and developing websites, Eric has worked in every position of the agency ladder. He is fluent in multiple backend and front end programming languages and has written multiple international best selling plugins for WordPress. He has been part of or is still part of many startups. He is the Director of Website Development for Future Design Group and one of it's founding partners.