a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Episode 12: Handling Rejection as a Mobile Ultrasound Business Owner

Over the last decade working with our students, one thing is clear – so many people are deathly afraid of rejection and it can hold them back from accomplishing their dreams & goals. Today on the podcast I’m sharing the rejection I’ve received over the years and giving you some advice to overcome the fear to move your business forward.


Jen (00:01):
Hello and welcome to the Talking Tech Podcast, a sonographer’s guide to entrepreneurship. I am your host, Jennifer Lindsey, and today we are chatting about handling rejection as a business owner. You guys, I think this is one of the hardest parts of business ownership, and I believe it scares people the most. Rejection, I think we can all agree in any form and any stage in life, is hard. Nobody likes it. But if you are determined to be a business owner, you’ve got to get some thick skin and realize it’s going to be part of the territory. So today, I’m going to give you a couple of things to think about when that negativity starts creeping into your mind. First and foremost, you will surely get the sneers and tears when you tell people you’re starting a business. I did. And people sixteen years ago, when we started our business, people told me I was too young and inexperienced; I had some tell me I was a girl.

It’s kind of bizarre. The best way I can describe how to overcome this part for yourself is to realize mobile ultrasound is not new. You’re not the first person to ever do this. You didn’t create this type of business. You’re not going down a path that no one has ever gone down before. I think this is so important to realize. I put this topic on my list because Liz, our operations director at Advanced Imaging, was listening to our podcast. We did a few weeks ago when we did a client spotlight for one of our one-on-one clients, Peyton. And he had mentioned the kind of rejection part, and she said, “Man, Jennifer, that would be such a great thing to talk about with your audience” because that, I think, is something that so many people are scared about when they first start.

And throughout the process, I love getting these recommendations because I’ve been doing this for so long; it is hard sometimes to recall what I was feeling and thinking when we started our business so long ago. And so, Liz, I love that you gave me this idea. I want to tell all of you listening if you’ve got ideas or questions or things you think would be a great podcast topic, please message me and tell me because I keep a list and want this always to be something that, at the end of the podcast you’re like, man, that was great. I didn’t know this or that, and I got a lot of benefits from it. So anyway, I digress. But I wanted to tell you that in that podcast that we did with Peyton, he mentioned something that I thought was a great way for you as an ultrasound tech to look at this. You’re an expert in your field; you already know how to provide the service.

You are going to turn into a business that is, most of the time, when someone starts a business in other industries, that’s the hardest thing for them to do. They want to start a business. They want to do something on their own, but they have to figure out what their one thing is, right? What do I love? What do I love to do? How can I make that into a business? You don’t have to do any of that. And honestly, sometimes that’s the hardest part is finding a service that people need that are going to buy so that when you put all this time, effort, and money into starting a business, you’re going to have something that creates a revenue stream. So I loved that Peyton mentioned that because I think it’s something that all of us need to hear.

You’re already an expert when you are an ultrasound tech and want to turn that into a mobile business. You already have the service part down pat. It’s going to just be figuring out how to package it and put that into the service offerings you’re going to provide. Now you’ll have to do some of that on your own, but our students have that part all mapped out for them. So you don’t have to figure out anything as a student of ours because we’ve got all that part figured out. But even if you do this on your own, you should realize this is doable. And not only is it doable, people all over the country are already doing it, and there’s a space for you in this market. So now that you’ve started the business, you’ve hopped over that leap and started the business.

Here is where I see problems arise. You know, people that reach out to me that already have businesses that have questions, our students bring this up to me. This is where the problem is on my end, too, because it’s literally the one thing I cannot do for them. They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it make it drink. We’ve got all of the information that our students need to be mapped out for them. But if they’re too scared to get out there and talk with the physicians or make those prospecting calls, which is step one in our five-step sales process that we teach, they’re not going to get their business anywhere. So when I dig in with those students that are having trouble getting that work done, that are having trouble getting those accounts, overwhelmingly the reason is because they are scared of rejection, they’re scared. Fear keeps them from pursuing their dreams because they are deathly afraid of that rejection. So my question to you, because I likely imagine that is something that is scary for you, it was scary for me when we first started our business. If it doesn’t scare you either, you’ve been in sales forever already, which most of our students have not. They are ultrasound techs who just want their own thing.

But let me ask you a question. What is the worst that could happen? What’s the worst that can happen? You go out and speak with a physician about your service; you call an office on the phone to gain some general information so that you can figure out if they are potentially qualified prospects. The worst that could happen is they say no, that’s it. They could say, no, we don’t like this idea; we don’t want it in our office. Okay, on to the next prospective client. That’s why we have that very specific five-step sales process. Because if you put enough physicians on that list to walk through the sales process with, it’s not going to matter that some say no because some also say yes. Now I realize this is hard to grasp sometimes in the beginning because most of you haven’t been in sales. You’re an ultrasound tech sales are not your forte.

The business side is not your forte. That’s okay. It’s out of your comfort zone. But honestly, you cannot have growth in your life anywhere. Think about that. You cannot have growth inside your comfort zone. Outside of our comfort zone is where things happen. It’s where growth happens. We can’t see new things emerging, and we can’t see that new growth inside our comfort zone. They always have to be a little bit uncomfortable. Newness and growth are always a little uncomfortable. Now I’m going to tell you a few funny stories about rejection that have happened to me so that you guys can see even though these are crazy; you guys are going to laugh at them. And I cannot tell these stories without laughing. As I was putting my notes together for the podcast today, I was cracking up because I was thinking back; I’ve been doing this for sixteen years and have always been the main sales and marketing person for our mobile business.

And I, just over sixteen years, honestly have only had two situations in that time. And you guys, I have seen and spoken to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of doctors twice. Have I been in a situation where I was like, oh my gosh, I cannot believe this person is speaking to me this way? All the other times have been just: I don’t think this will work for our practice. But I have to tell you these funny stories because I’m going to show you these two things are like the worst thing that could happen, and later on, you’re going to be laughing about them like I did. So, once, a physician told me that I was lying straight up. I was giving my little spiel, as we call it, in the sales world. In our sales process, we teach your 30-second commercial or your elevator pitch; it’s basically, here’s who I am, what I do, and the services we can provide. And I was including some of the groups that we were working with. So I mentioned a few local physicians to him, and I mentioned one of our local hospitals, and he straight up told me I was lying.

Why would a hospital need a mobile group? They already have ultrasound. So I will never forget that because, of course, I was completely taken aback. Anybody who knows me knows that I am one of the most honest, straightforward, straight-up people you will ever meet. I can hand on a bible and say I have never cheated on a test. I mean, honesty is one of my things. So I was immediately extremely annoyed,  and I mentioned to him, here are the doctors we work with at this hospital; he knew both of those docs and, of course, apologized to me. But I just told him respectfully it looks like this is not going to be a good fit. Because honestly, even if he wanted to work with us, I don’t want to work with somebody who calls me a liar the first time I meet with him, right?

So I appreciated his time. I told him, and I got up and left. All right? I got another physician who told me after I gave my little spiel that this was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard of. And he didn’t understand why any physician would want to have something like that in their practice. That’s another one that I said, well, looks like this is not going to be a great fit, although here are the other physicians that we are currently working with, sir. So have a lovely day, and thank you for your time. I honestly can’t even tell these stories without laughing because they’re so ridiculous. And listen, guys, anytime in our life, think back to radiologists. You’ve worked with cardiologists, you’ve worked with colleagues you’ve worked with. Some people are just rude in the end. Some people are mean, the end. Sometimes physicians, God love you if you’re a physician and you are listening to this, I am not speaking of all physicians, but some just really get on that high horse where they think that they know more than you about a service, that you are the one that’s an expert at, right?

So I cannot tell you enough, those two extremes have only happened to me twice in 16 years. And that’s the worst that can happen. That’s it. You can have someone be super rude to you when you tell them, thank you for your time, have a nice day, goodbye. And you head out to the next physician’s office on your list. Now most rejection is going to sound something like, oh gosh, I don’t know. I’m not quite sure we have enough patience for this, or I’m not sure this will work with our practice. Thank you so much for coming in, though; I appreciate it. Okay, so I’m here to tell you 99.9% of the time, the rejection is going to be no thank you. But we appreciate you coming in. Okay? I can’t tell you how big of a deal it is to mention the fact that this is not life or death. Having someone just plain tell you no thank you isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

And I prefer a no to a wishy-washy answer because I want to be able to move on to the next group. Don’t tell me; maybe don’t tell me you’re going to look into stuff. Tell me yes, or no, so we can figure out which group bucket to put you in. Are you in the yes group? Are you the no group? All of this is to say rejection is inevitable. You’re going to get it before you start your business in the form of people questioning whether it’s a good idea. If you know what you’re doing, you’re going to get it along the way. But that’s how it is in life, and that’s how it is in any business. And you’ve got to remember that the worst thing that can happen is people say no thank you. And the very worst that can happen is that they’re rude, but you’re not going to get that very often, okay?

You must realize this service is not for every physician, just like any service anywhere isn’t for everyone. My friend is going to buy something that I wouldn’t necessarily buy just because I’m not interested in it, but they think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread, right? It’s the same thing, just like this isn’t a service that every single person you walk into their office will want. But let me tell you, when you’re moving these offices through the sales process, you are looking for your eye ideal clients. You guys know The doctors we work with from listening to our stuff. We have our own mobile business here in Indiana. We work with tons of physicians that love having us come in. They love the fact that their patients get to come back to one place. They don’t have to drive all over creation.

They don’t have to find a parking spot; they don’t have to fill out a bunch of extra paperwork. They come right back to the doctor’s office, where they feel comfortable. We are just an extension of the staff they already feel comfortable with. The doctors have immediate access to their images and reports, so they can look at those or pull them down at the drop of a hat. They love that their patients are saving a ton of money coming right back to the practice. And they love that they can get all these benefits right in their office without a big capital expense when they need it. And all they have to worry about is putting the patients on our schedule and billing out the procedure. We take care of everything else. This is a service that provides an amazing option for patients. And there, like I said, are going to be some doctors that just don’t want to have that in their office, but you are looking for your ideal client.

I’m going to go through a few things here in just a second because I want to go over the two things I want you to remember. When you start your business, these negative thoughts start to arise, and you start to feel that negativity, whether it’s internal or your mind telling you my mind’s told me this a million times, Jennifer, you’re not good enough to do this, Jennifer. You don’t know enough to do this. That is where you need to remember. You’ll get it externally, too, as I mentioned. You have to remember you are an expert. You’re an ultrasound expert.

You already have the service thing down. That one thing you’ll be doing is half the battle. You’ve got this; you can do it; others already are, and what makes them any better than you? The answer is nothing. Okay? That’s what I want you to remember first. Now, when you feel that rejection as you start speaking with physicians, just like I mentioned earlier, just like every other service in the world, it’s not going to be for everyone. And we don’t want it to be for everyone. You are looking for a select few physician practices to partner with over the long haul. You want physicians who love taking care of their patients, are easy to work with, and are excited about having the service come in. And if that’s not the person you’re speaking with, you move on to the next one.

My point is you don’t need a ton of clients, okay? Think about, think about it this way. If each physician client only used you one day a week, you’d only need five offices to say yes to your service to completely fill up your service month, right? If each office only needed you one day a week, you’d only need five offices to fill up your entire month. If each client only needed you a half day a week, you’d only need ten total clients. Ten clients in a sea of thousands of physicians in your area likely doesn’t seem quite as scary when you look at it that way, right? You just have to get to those five or get to those 10. So you’ll get some no’s along the way, and that’s okay because the no’s lead you to the yeses. All right, guys, I’m going to leave you with this. You are capable. You are worthy, and you can do this. You can. All right, guys, until next week.

your strategy-obsessed ultrasound business coach.

I'm Jennifer -

Welcome to the Talking Tech podcast, where we answer your questions about legal, marketing, admin, sales, and so much more. After nearly 20 years in the industry running our own mobile ultrasound business and helping techs across the country do the same, I'm so excited to bring you industry insight, mindset, productivity, business tips, and inspiration to help you design the business of your dreams.

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