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  • Diana Schneidman

Telephoning for freelance & consulting work: how to avoid rejection

I’ve made thousands of phone calls to drum up writing and marketing research assignments (unfortunately labeled “cold calling” by some people), and I’ve never experienced rejection for one simple reason: I don’t define rejection as hearing “no.”

Face it. Everyone in business hears “no,” and if you are proactively reaching out to possible clients, you’ll hear a considerable number of “no”s.

Almost any type of contact with the public risks the N word.

“Can I help you?” asks the associate in the sportswear department at Macy’s. “No,” you answer.

“I object, your honor.” (That translates to “no.”)

“Do you want fries with that?”

These are three of the many situations in life where we hear “no.”

When we get this response, it normally doesn’t faze us. It’s simply part of life.

Except when we phone someone and offer our assistance.

Many people think this is a type of rejection, but it’s not. It will inevitably occur in the course of phoning for business, and it shouldn’t make us uneasy. Another “no” takes us closer to “yes.”

While this response is inevitable, another response is even more common: Nothing. No one answers. Our call goes right to voice mail.

What does this mean?

It could mean they checked caller ID and didn’t pick up because they hate us. Or more likely, it means very little. They simply didn’t decide to talk to us at that time.

Occasionally I experience something that is a bit closer to rejection, which is when someone hears only a few words from me, says “not interested” and hangs up.

Even then I don’t feel rejected. They did not speak with me long enough to determine that I’m a horrible person so why should I feel bad?

So I don’t.

You may think that people swear at me. Shout the F*** word. Rant and rave about what a nuisance I am.

But that has never happened to me in almost two decades of phoning.

And why should it?

I am calling to offer them a service they may need, not to bother them. And I only call during work hours to their office phone.

Imagined rejection is far worse than anything that happens in real life.

So why not try out phoning?

Originally posted 11-28-10

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