You’ve spent a lot of time talking with a client, doing a consultation, even driving to their house to do a consultation and you’re expecting to close the deal. When you communicate with the client to secure the date via a contract, they pull away. What did you do wrong? Here’s how to deal with rejection from a client with grace.
This whole scenario just happened to me and probably has happened to multiple freelancers. At the end of the day, we as freelancers spend a lot of time hustling for business, and in the beginning, when you don’t have much of a clientele, rejection hurts. A lot.
It can be so easy to take it personally, but here’s how you can make a client rejection work:
1. Ask them specifically why they don’t want to work with you.
Is it your prices, your level of work, or something else? If you don’t ask, you won’t understand why this particular client doesn’t want to work with you and what you can do to improve.
2. Stay Super Nice
Throughout the interaction, whether this is via e-mail, telephone, face-to-face or even Snapchat, stay super positive and nice. NEVER ever curse or diminish the client. Remember, even if you were counting on that money and had mentally started spending it, it’s not your money until the contract’s signed, the job is done and it’s sitting in your bank account.
Even if that client doesn’t want to work with you right now, they’ll keep in mind your professionalism when recommending you to others.
3. Recommend Someone Else
No-one likes giving business away, but recommending a more experienced freelancer, someone closer to their area or someone more specialist is a super nice thing to do and will earn you lots of brownie points with the client and the freelancer you recommend.
Make friends with other freelancers, follow local people in your industry on social media and take them out for coffee/tea sometime to get to know them better. I guarantee you that they will return the favour if they’re fully booked one day, and need a helping hand.
4. Learn from it and move on
At the end of the day, all you can do from each experience is learn from it and move on. From this particular experience, I learned I need to be very clear in my communication about what clients can expect from a trial, what the process is and be honest about when I’m willing to work with them and when I’m not.
Have you got any client rejection suggestions?