There’s only one thing worse than getting rejected by a potential sponsor; getting no reply at all.
In this article, I want to talk about how you can quickly pick yourself up after rejection, but also start thinking of rejection as a good thing. Now, this might sound a bit strange, but if you get rejected by a sponsor, it means you don’t have to waste time chasing them or hoping that they’re going to give you some money. A firm no means that you can focus your attention elsewhere, giving you back some of your precious time.
I find it really frustrating when you don’t get any reply at all because you don’t know where you stand. If you send a cold email and you instantly get a no back, it saves you time because you’ve spent maybe an hour researching and pitching but now no longer have to think about them.
Whereas if they don’t get back to you, you’re stuck planning follow-ups, wishing they would get back to you, wondering what they thought and so on. You’re kind of stuck in this loop of hope and it becomes a Schrödinger situation. They may sponsor you, they may not. You don’t know because they haven’t responded.
I’m going to look at some of the ways that you can deal with rejection but just bear that in mind that getting a firm no is often better than getting zero response at all. A no means that they’ve been interested enough to read your whole email.
Make getting a reply your goal
When you’re pitching to sponsors, you need to craft a pitch email that really grabs their attention. If it doesn’t, they won’t reply to you. If it does, but they’re not in a position to sponsor, that’s when they’ll get back to you with a no. Even though your pitch should be focussed on getting a yes, if you aim for, at the very least, a reply, you’ll be steps ahead of complete silence.
Move on straight away
There’s no point dwelling over the nos you get because you’re going to get a lot of them (sorry!).
You can’t always know exactly what a business is doing. So when you get a rejection, pick yourself up straight away and mark that potential sponsor off on your spreadsheet. Then move on to the next one, don’t dwell on the rejection.
This isn’t necessarily something that comes easily, and rejection is never nice, but the more you can do to pick up yourself up and move on, the better.
So from now on, every time that you get a rejection email, make sure you send out a new pitch the same day, or follow up on an existing pitch that you have out there.
Research, research, research
You can also minimize the number of rejections you get with proper pitching and researching. I’ve found over the years that the more I research a potential sponsor, the more likely I am to get a reply that’s positive.
You know that I’ve been doing a really big pitching push lately and of all the people that I’ve emailed, maybe only one has come back and given me a firm no. The rest are all in progress (that’s a huge success rate!). So doing the proper research is really, really, really important.
Those of you who have read Get Paid To Race or are enrolled in one of the Get Paid To Race: Six Weeks to Success courses, you’ll know this and you’ll already, hopefully, be putting this into practice. Proper research will really minimize your nos. So while it’s good to get used to rejection — because it’s a part of any sales process (and this is a sales process) — if you can minimize it, then it’s going to be much easier on you as well.
Don’t blanket email companies
Don’t just find the yellow pages for your local area and email every single person there, because you are more likely to get nos, and usually only after a really lengthy follow-up process. This is a huge waste of your time.
Instead, pinpoint the companies that you are approaching much more directly because if you can find the businesses that will genuinely find value in what you’re offering, they’re going to be way more likely to say yes. This, of course, increases your success rate and minimizes the number of rejections you get.
Turn a rejection into a no
I have one client who turned around a firm no from a business by doing some research and re-pitching. The business gave them £50,000.
They turned that rejection into something massive that funded almost their entire season!
If you’ve been having a really good conversation with someone, then it could just be a case of tweaking what you’re offering to fit their needs/budget. If you get a no from a cold approach or one or two emails, then maybe you need to have a bigger discussion with them to find out what their goals are, or do some more research and go in with a counter pitch.
Following the rejection, you could re-pitch straight away or you could leave it a couple of months depending on the position you’re in, the research you do and the findings that you get from it, but it is possible to turn a no into a yes.
Don’t give up
Just because that one business doesn’t want to sponsor you, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Often, you can’t account for business circumstances, especially at the moment with Brexit and everything being a bit uncertain. Even if you’ve done all of your research and identified a business as a great potential sponsor, it might just be that the business is in not such a great financial position or they’ve just spent of their money launching a new product.
Stay in touch with them, by all means, especially if you think they are a good fit, but just don’t give up.
Move onto the next business. It’s not your fault that this particular business doesn’t want to sponsor you or isn’t able to sponsor you.
If you have any questions on this or you are really struggling with rejection, drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the Racing Mentor Sponsorship Community on Facebook. It’s a friendly group of people who are more than happy to give you a little motivation or inspiration when you’re feeling stuck.
Pitching for sponsorship does take time and you will have to send multiple pitches (tens, not hundreds) in order to get a good response rate. Don’t hang all of your hopes on the one potential sponsor you’ve had a good conversation with.
You need to keep pitching and not let get rejection get you down.