During my recent launch of LinkedREvolution, I surveyed people on their goals, challenges, and fears. One of the biggest fears that came up over and over again was “I don’t want to be rejected.”
This is a fear that I deeply resonate with. Hell, I don’t want to be rejected. I want to be loved by everyone, even though I know that’s not possible or even desirable.
This fear of rejection kicked in early in my career. When I started my first job in recruitment at the age of 19, I was given a list of 60 people to cold call every day and win them as clients.
I still remember looking at my boss and thinking, “This is a joke, right?”.
But it wasn’t.
I soon came to understand that cold calling was not for me. I hated it, and worst of all, the people I called hated it too.
So out of necessity, I figured out a different way of doing things. Instead of cold calling people all day long, I connected with them on social media and via email first, and therefore, turned these cold contacts into warm connections.
When I started my own business in early 2013, I swore to myself that I would never cold call anyone.
My dream had always been to have potential clients come to me, instead of me approaching them. And since I had always been afraid of rejection, I wanted them to ask me to work with them, instead of the other way around.
Since early 2013, I stayed true to that and have been fortunate to build a business where people approach me to work with them. However, this is not something that just happened by accident.
Over the years, I have learned to nurture relationships and give so much value that people ask me to collaborate with them. That’s how I got to speak at TEDxLugano in 2015 and how I get introductions to people who often seem out of reach.
The beautiful thing about this is that it’s not a natural born talent. It’s something everyone can learn and I had to learn it out of necessity because I never enjoyed cold calling and hard selling people.
So, here’s how you do business without ever getting rejected.
Talk to the Right People
I often talk about the 98% of people who don’t get it and the 2% of people who already seek you.
The 2% are your raving fans, even if they don’t know you yet. They are the ones who are seeking you, even if you don’t know who they are. These 2% do not only want to work with you because of what you do, but first and foremost because of who you are.
The challenge is that if you try to appeal to the 98%, the 2% will never find you because they won’t recognize you.
The 2% are those you speak to and immediately resonate with. They are the ones you meet and think “Wow, it feels like I have known this person for years”.
If you make it your goal to only appeal to your tribe, those 2% who are already seeking you, you will never have to persuade anyone to do business with you.
Show Up Fully Self-Expressed
This is probably the hardest part. If you try to hide behind a mask, never expressing yourself and not showing up as who you really are, the 2% will never find you.
However, if you show up as your biggest self, nobody can ever reject you. Because in order to be able to be rejected, you would have to try to persuade somebody to do something.
It’s the difference between saying “I have this idea, what do you think about it?” versus saying “This is where I’m going and I would be happy to have you come along”.
If you stand up for what you believe in and show up fully self-expressed, it’s impossible to be rejected. Sure, there will always be people who don’t agree with you but by showing up fully self-expressed, you say “This is where I’m going. It’s your decision to come along or stay here.”
True leaders show up fully self-expressed and the people who follow them do so because they want to come along and not because the leader tries to persuade them to do so.
And last but not least, it’s impossible to reject YOU.
It’s possible to reject a product or a service, but it’s impossible to reject who you are. Think about it. That would be like somebody rejecting the idea of gravity.
True Giving vs. Disguised Giving
Who would you rather do business with, a giver or a taker?
I’m currently reading Give and Take from Adam Grant and it talks about why people who give the most, eventually end up at the top of their field.
The law of reciprocity is a universal law and it predicts that what we give, comes back to us, usually multiple times bigger. If that’s true, then all we have to do is give, right?
Well, it’s a bit more complicated than this.
If you give for the purpose of receiving, the law of reciprocity stops working because the act of giving is no longer pure.
If the main reason for why you give is to get clients, your intentions stop the law from working. However, if the main reason for why you give is to give, the law works.
If I walk into a conversation with the intention of winning somebody as my clients so I can make money, it messes up the outcome.
However, if I walk into a conversation in order to help somebody in any way I can, and if my services are truly what helps that person the most, it’s genuine and that person often becomes a client.
To top it off, if I walk into such a conversation in order to help somebody in any way I can and my services are not what helps that person the most, and I decide instead to make an introduction to somebody I know will be able to help them, the law of reciprocity works.
This person will remember me, talk about me in a positive light and at some point, what I gave will come back. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it does come back if my intentions for giving are pure.
Random Giving vs. Contextual Giving
I sometimes encounter people who are givers at heart, but they have a hard time to get the law of reciprocity to work for them.
If we give randomly without considering what the person we give to really wants and needs, we are not creating any value. If we give what we perceive as valuable but is not considered as valuable by the person, it’s not in context.
However, if we listen to what the other person’s needs and desires are and we cater to them, our giving is in context.
In order to help you apply this concept in real life, I have created 5 Email Templates for you, that enable you to connect with potential clients or partners on a deep level and come from a place of giving.
Click here to download the 5 Email Templates That Make Busy People Say YES to get meetings with potential clients and partners without ever coming over as pushy or salesy.