The best way to deal with rejection in your photography business is to get used to it.
Rejection ramps up and keeps going skyward the longer you are in business. There are some logical reasons for this. When you start out you’re probably low-priced enough to be pretty attractive to a larger market. That, and no one knows about you so you aren’t really fielding many inquiries that you can’t handle.
But as you keep going you raise your price and more people find out about you. That means more (wrong) people are contacting you and there are fewer budgets that you fit into. This only gets worse the longer you go and the higher you reach. So as you remain in business understand that rejection is going to be a constant companion.
But there are some things you can do to manage rejection. First is to constantly manage your referral streams. If you are advertising make sure that the methods you are using are bringing in the right people at the right budget. If not, cut and run. Same thing with referrals – some people or vendors or venues just aren’t aligned with the value you provide and they aren’t going to give you what you need. Have a conversation and get on the same page or help them understand where to send those referrals instead.
The second thing you should do to manage rejection is to communicate as clearly as possible. Don’t hide your prices, don’t be coy on your website, don’t put a lot of obstacles in the client’s way of figuring out what your value is or why they should hire you. The more you hide the more the wrong people can see themselves in your work and the more rejection you’re going to face (and time you’re going to waste).
We all have different comfort levels with rejection. We had a period in our business where we were able to book a consult on something like 5-8 out of 100 inquiries. It drove us totally nuts and we thought we sucked. But we did the research and figured out that a huge portion of those inquiries were coming from sources that really weren’t aligned with the clients we wanted to work with. When we figured out how to make those inquiries go away (better education of those sources) our inquiry-to-consult ratio got more comfortable.
Some people like having a ton of inquiries to work with and don’t want to limit them no matter how right/wrong they are. That’s cool. Some people (like me) hate rejection and do everything that we can to keep it from affecting us. As a case in point, some of the criticism I’ve gotten recently has made me pretty reticent to record another podcast because I haven’t quite figured out how to solve the complaints. That’s not a particularly attractive trait (as you can see – not very cool to admit) so you might want to manage how evident your tactics are.
Rejection is a silent partner in all of our businesses. There are some things you can do to manage how large of a partner it ends up being. If you’re struggling with it now (hey, it sort of feels like business sucks for everyone at the moment) take a look at where your leads are coming from and what you can do to clarify your position and brand. Rejection doesn’t go away, but you can totally insulate yourself from it.
Hey guys, we’ve got two more SEXY BUSINESS Workshops on the schedule with a few spots left in each. SEXY BUSINESS Atlanta happens this October and MYSTICALLY SEXY BUSINESS comes at you this January in Mystic, CT. The purpose of the workshop is to develop a value message that you can communicate into the world to book the right clients for the right price. And you’ll walk away with a business plan that ensures profitability. Kick-ass results abound. Check out the info HERE.