A new inquiry pops up in your inbox. It sounds like a total dream project and you get super excited! You nail the intro call, they seem eager to work with you and you put the proposal together feeling confident. You wait anxiously to hear back and get this fun new client in your schedule and then… they respond saying they’ve decided to go with someone else.
We all get rejected sometimes. I just had this happen last week! And man, it sucked. I started to wonder what turned them away – was it my pricing? Did they just think someone else was better than me? Was it because they wanted someone local to them? I could torture myself with these questions forever, but I know that I did what I could and if they said no, it’s probably for the best. Not every client is the right fit and that’s ok. And if you’re like me, I always go into super productive mode whenever I get rejected. I immediately want to work on my business and find things to improve. I guess it’s just what makes me feel a little better and have some more confidence in the next proposal that I send out.
So if you’re feeling bummed after getting rejected by a potential client, here’s a list of things to do/think about and get your confidence back:
01 / Take some time to think about the client and analyze if they really were a good fit or not.
Why do you think they said no? Was their budget too low? Did they want something that you weren’t able to offer? Did they want you to rush through your process? These are all common reasons for clients to say no and usually mean that they weren’t really the best fit for you. Don’t beat yourself up about these clients. It probably wouldn’t have been a very fun project to work on if they didn’t fully value your skills and what you had to offer.
02 / Create something new or make some updates to an old project.
It’s always important to share work that you really love and actively show people the type of work that you want to do. So why not take an hour or two to create a mini-project for fun. Or revisit an old project and give it a little facelift so that it aligns more with the type of clients that you want to attract. This is usually my go-to when I get rejected. Just create, create, create! And then share, share, share! You can’t go wrong with putting more work out there that you’re proud of.
03 / Try to share more behind the scenes and explain your process.
Sometimes clients say no because they don’t fully understand the value of what we offered them. You can explain this as much as possible in your proposals, but it always helps for clients to get a full behind the scenes look at how you work. So make it a point to show some more details of your process on your website or on social media and get creative with how you present it! If you need some inspiration, go check out my instagram! I’m always sharing bts stuff so that new clients have a better understanding of what I do and how much work goes into it.
04 / Check in with past clients and get some updated testimonials from them.
If you’re feeling really down about your rejection, it’s a perfect time to reach back out to some of your past clients and get some updated testimonials from them! Hearing them talk about how much they loved working with you will help you remember that you’re good at what you do, but it’ll also give you some new testimonials to share on your website or social media! Adding some extra credibility to your business and building trust with any new clients that reach out.
05 / Update your proposals to better convey your value and really sell your services.
Having a professional and thoughtful proposal can really help you feel more confident when pitching your services to potential clients! I’ve spent years making my proposals super informative and really show the value of what I do for my clients. So take some time to go through your proposals and see if you can find any areas where you can explain things better or just present your services in a different way. And if you don’t know what to include in your proposals, check out my proposal template over in my shop!
Getting rejected is never easy, but you can always turn those moments into something positive for your business! I hope these tips help you feel motivated rather than defeated and remember – better clients are out there! A project not working out might feel like a loss, but it also means that you’re keeping a space open for something even better. Be patient, keep sharing the work that you love and actively showing people why your work is valuable. You got this 😉
P.S. Did you know that I offer 1:1 coaching for designers? If you’re struggling to attract clients and want some outside advice on how to fix that and finally feel confident in your design business, you can schedule a 1:1 mentoring session with me! Click here to get more info.