During a recent interview for a copywriting job with a retail fashion website I learned a valuable lesson about rejection.
The interview was a timed test. I had fifteen minutes to write dazzling copy for a little black dress, a pair of sad looking sandals and a heavily beaded necklace that was hanging on a rack in the middle of a huge warehouse.
While I was writing, the woman who was interviewing me was packaging up products to be sent out, handling customer service on the phone, and taking delivery of a new shipment. She looked over my sample copy when I finished and told me it looked great and she’d be in touch.
I left the warehouse feeling confident that I’d landed the job, but when I saw five other eager writers waiting in the lobby for their chance, I lost my confidence.
Two weeks later, I still hadn’t heard anything. I assumed the job had gone to someone else. I mentioned it to a friend who is a very successful salesman. He said that I wasn’t taking the right approach.
“You need to get to the ‘no,'” he said. “And even if she says ‘no’ it doesn’t mean your copy wasn’t good enough. It just means it isn’t what she needs right now.”
He told me that instead of fearing rejection, I should be seizing the opportunity to develop a relationship.
“You’re a small business owner,” he said. “And so is she. And she sounds overwhelmed. Make it easy on her, stay in touch. And don’t stop until you get to the ‘no.’
I went home and put in a call. My focus changed from fearing rejection to making a connection.
I couldn’t get through to the business owner, but I left a message with her assistant. Two days later her assistant called me back.
“She’s been so busy that she hasn’t been able to make any calls, but she wanted me to thank you for staying in touchÖ and can you start tomorrow?”
Changing my attitude, changed everything. Instead of fearing the ‘no,’ I pressed ahead with the goal of making a connection with another business owner, and that led to my success.
Sarah Vance received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California and went on to work in feature film development at Lightstorm Entertainment, The Ladd Company and USA Films, among others. Prior to film school, she wrote and produced radio and television commercials. She has worked as a staff reporter for a weekly entertainment trade publication, as well as a freelance journalist and movie reviewer. Currently, she is the online news editor for a News/Talk radio station in Los Angeles.