"It is too expensive for our customers and they will not buy it. You should be selling this at £1.00 a bottle. This will not work."
A few years ago, this is what the buyer of a well known supermarket said to me during a meeting (we were pitching them).
It took over 5 hours for me to get to our meeting (and over 6 months to set it up) so to hear this type of feedback was devastating. They were not going to list us.
Rejection is painful if you do not know how to either manage it or prepare for it.
Therefore, at this point, it would have been easy to allow the negativity of rejection to take over and give up.
Fortunately for me, I had been lucky enough to know there was a way to take the positives from this rejection. By the buyer saying no to me, without knowing it, he was actually revealing key points I had failed to address in my pitch.
By saying "It is too expensive for our customers and they will not buy it. You should be selling this at £1.00 a bottle" the buyer actually wanted to know:
"in this market where everyone else sells cheap, how can you give me comfort to know this will work as a premium product and why is anyone going to buy Mr. Singhs? What are you going to do to make this work?"
As I had been taught a valuable lesson by this rejection, it was now my job to learn how to approach a new potential customer by looking at our proposal through their eyes.
After thinking about it, I decided from now on I would pitch with the buyers point of view first, rather than my own.
I thought to myself, they are approached 1000's of times a week, what makes us so good (by the way, saying "quality" is not enough)? I had to have the answers.
Using this new found knowledge and by sticking to our pricing structure, today we are listed with over 450 independent retailers, Selfridges, Sainsburys, Ocado, Booths, Tesco and export overseas - the new approach works.
By looking at rejection as an opportunity to learn rather than a personal attack, it has helped me (and our business) become more resilient and persistent in going for our goals.
I have applied this philosophy to my personal life too and find the same results occur. Rejection means I must change myself in order to achieve what I want. I am in control of getting a yes!
Learning to turn rejection into learning is an ongoing process and some may find it easier than others. I for one have accepted this lesson as a lifelong skill I wish to improve upon and have implemented this into the day to day ethos of our business.
As the the title says, rejection, much like failure is GOOD!
Kuldip Singh Sahota
Mr. Singh's, London