No one likes to hear no. Especially me. And I feel like I’ve been hearing no on a number of fronts lately, which has me not feeling so confident.

If there is one thing that’s true about being an entrepreneur or being in sales, it’s that you have to get used to rejection and failure. These things are just part of the process.

But after talking to some wise friends in the industry (thanks Phil Flora!), who assured me that no’s aren’t personal – it’s just business and they often aren’t forever either, I was able to put them into perspective and also write a post about it because 1) why not make this a teaching moment and 2) I know I’m not the only one who hears no.

Remember that no two no’s are alike:

No, the timing isn’t right.

No, I need something different.

No, I need it in another format.

No, I need space to think about it.

No, I need the pricing structured differently.

If you get a no, it’s OK to ask why. You just need to do it in the right way.

You can also try to counter the no by offering another alternative or a solution.

If it’s about price, see if you can work out a payment plan to spread the costs out over time. Or perhaps break the project down into phases so it’s a smaller amount at each point.

If they’re concerned you don’t have the capacity to do the work, suggest hiring contractors who would work under your company’s direction.

When you hear no, it’s ok to directly ask if there’s anything you can do to change their mind. Maybe it’s changing an aspect of the proposal, scaling back the project or being flexible on pricing.

Reiterate the benefits of working together and convey why you want to work with them specifically. A little flattery can go a long way.

It’s not about begging; it’s about persuasion.

No isn’t personal no matter how much it feels like it is.

Sometimes no right now doesn’t mean no forever so stay in touch. Add leads to your newsletter or blog mailing list. If you see something about them in the news, send them an email to offer congratulations or a proposed solution.

If you handled the no properly and you haven’t burned any bridges, there’s still an opportunity to nurture the relationship.

Rejection is part of the game. Challenge it when you can, learn from it every time and move on to the next opportunity.

How do you handle when you hear no?