Rob Biesenbach, a blogger and actor-turned-writer/PR pro, found this blog last week and posted a comment about pitching new business — a big challenge for creative freelancers — that seemed more like a real post to me. Voila!
In addition to being a freelance writer/PR professional, I am also an actor. That acting experience has helped me in my “main business” in countless ways, from connecting with audiences to shaping and telling better stories.
It’s also taught me not to take rejection personally, which is important when you’re out there pitching new business.
Learn to Take No for an Answer
As an actor, I am typically told “no” 10 or 15 times for every “yes.” So I’ve learned to take rejection (more or less) in stride, and I’ve come to understand that obsessing over it after the fact is pointless.
The truth is, you can never really know what the people on the other side of the audition table (or at a new business pitch) are looking for. Sometimes they don’t even know what they’re looking for – until they see it.
And their decision usually has nothing to do with your talent or your worth. It could come down to silly or arbitrary things, like you remind them of their ex or you’re too tall to match up well with the other lead they picked or the job’s been promised to someone’s brother-in-law.
Remember: it’s not personal; it’s business. Don’t beat your head against a wall trying to find some rhyme or reason behind their decision-making.
Here are five things to keep in mind the next time you’re pitching new business:
- All you can control is your own preparation for and “performance” in the pitch.
- You are likely competing against other very talented people who may be equally if not more deserving of the work.
- The client’s ultimate decision has nothing to do with you personally – it may even have nothing to do with what you would consider logical reasoning.
- It’s often just a numbers game: the more you get out there and pitch, the better your odds of success – partly because you’ll get better at it.
- After the pitch and the appropriate follow-ups, put it out of your mind. Don’t start counting (or spending) the money. Move on to your next thing and immerse yourself in that.
And remember: your next big break is just around the corner!
Rob Biesenbach is a Chicago-based communications consultant, actor and author of the book ACT LIKE YOU MEAN BUSINESS: Essential Communication Lessons from Stage and Screen, published by Brigantine Media. You can follow his blog here.