Rejection is never final
The last thing I’ll say on the topic of hunting is that a rejection is not the end of the story. You’ll undoubtedly hear no a lot more than yes, but don’t underestimate the power of persistence. Something is frustrating yet intriguing about an individual who makes it a personal mission to administer a presentation for a prospect regardless of the cost and effort. That’s the mind-set I always put myself in when I hunt—I make myself available to help whenever a prospect and/or client calls on me.
Whether you’re in pursuit of capabilities, workshops, closing business, or reengaging with a past customer goes cold, the purchasing life cycle repeats over the years. There are multiple examples in our history where a client rejected an opportunity only to come back a year later after opting to work with another vendor, asking us for help to fix what the other vendor broke.
Maintain relationships with prospects and contacts you’ve identified as key strategic people and consistently make your presence known. When they change roles, move companies, their vendors fail, or the economy shifts, you’ll be there to help.
Rejection letter from a prospect
Below is a rejection sent to one of our team members:
To set some expectations, the next couple of weeks are back-to-back due to organizational changes. The other thing to be aware of is that we are currently being approached by 5–10 vendors a day at the moment, which is an unmanageable volume, particularly when we are not actively looking for further assistance beyond the current set of partners we already have.
Can I suggest the next steps for your organization would be to wait until we finalize our digital product structure then connect to see if there are any opportunities in ~4 weeks. For context, we are focused on building a strong internal digital product & UX practice in-house and we are about 80 percent of the way there and have a significantly better cadence to our competitors. As such, I’m not really sure how Devbridge could add value beyond what we are doing or what we supplement from existing partners.
Neither Sarah nor I have any expectation that you will make a commitment on a new vendor. We do, however, want to start a conversation and share our toolkit with you—fifteen minutes of your time is all I ask for.
I am familiar with your portfolio of partner vendors. Many of those companies are much happier to be part of the problem instead of the solution and suffer from similar cultural strains as large financial institutions. You’re not just adopting a process, you’re shifting how people think and act—from how funding is managed at the product level, to the structure of the delivery team, to how environments are being provisioned at the DevOps level.
I do appreciate your company’s cadence and ability to ship—but would it hurt to have another sharp blade in your digital toolkit that cuts through mediocrity and calls things as they are? I would actually prefer to pair our team with your internal resources around product management and UX—that will help you to adopt the right behavioral patterns as they pertain to product thinking.
So, this is an invitation to a friendly exploratory date. We’re smart (link), we’re funny (link), we cut through the noise (link), and we have a local presence in Toronto. Fifteen minutes and then we leave you guys alone until you need us.
We secured a capabilities meeting after that message. It didn’t go anywhere—the prospect was defensive and was building internal capabilities to do the work. But to this day, I continue to send him updates on our growth as well as our new white papers and articles. It may pay off one day.