By Kim Artlip, Columnist
When was the last time you said “no” to someone you knew? I bet you really have to think about that. In the past week, I’ve said “no” to exactly twenty seven people–that’s out of all the requests from my friends, family, wrestlers, people wanting to work backstage, web designers, social media gurus and vendors.
As a promoter and former booker, I have had to learn to say no without the inevitable guilt.
I used to feel bad in the beginning when I had to tell workers that I didn’t have a spot for them on shows. But that didn’t last long when I was given a dose of butthurt and kick back and realized that both wrestlers and myself needed to learn to say and accept no in the best manner possible.
There is nothing wrong with saying “no” but we are taught from the time we are children that no is a word we shouldn’t use. It conjures up punishment and deprivation of fun. You know how you felt when you wanted to go play and was told no. We need to lose that stigma and let’s talk about how the word no can be beneficial in wrestling.
Every week I read posts from another wrestler complaining that promoters didn’t book them for a show after they reached out on social media. Now I’m not going to say this is the gospel of promoting but there are several reasons why “no” is being used.
The show is already booked
Your approach was not very professional (i.e. written in slang)
They have no clue who you are and what you bring to the ring
You didn’t provide any background information to entice promoters
They have zero budget left for new talent at this time
You simply are not a fit for their matches (experience and training)
But let’s be honest, no doesn’t always mean no. It can simply mean not at this time. I’ve had multiple wrestlers who reached out and we were not able to work together at that particular time. We’ve gone on to have amazing matches and built friendships in and out of the ring. This is partly due to their professionalism about being declined.
I can guarantee you that promoters are not impressed when they say that they have no openings at this time, and you respond with profanity and insults. You just burnt that bridge. Do you honestly think anyone wants your vile spewing attitude in a locker room afterwards? Take responsibility and accept that now is not the time but that doesn’t mean the door is closed. But if you pitch a temper tantrum you may never work for that company.
Let me go on further to say that if you graciously accept that you won’t be a show, don’t kill that good will when you go on social media and bash the company. Don’t make snide comments about talent, staff, matches and posts. It will get back to the promoter and owner. Again, you burnt a bridge.
I’ve lost friendships and had to block former friends in the sport who reacted horribly when I declined to use them in shows. It wasn’t personal, it was business because they lacked the training and the physical conditioning to be in the ring at this time. I heard they are training again and conditioning but I am not 100% sure I would still ever use them personally. So much unprofessionalism and inappropriate comments were made on social media that have never been apologized about yet. No responsibility taken whatsoever.
I digress and I want to get back on point that you should be persistent and share your accomplishments with promoters in a positive manner. Let them know you would love to work for them and since your last contact you have done x, y, and z. Show them you are working steadily and being recognized in other promotions. Market yourself positively and you will get noticed. I’m not guaranteeing you will get booked but you are making positive strides in the right direction.
Take this mild setback as a call to action. Work on pitch, review your highlight reels, update your promo pics and concentrate on your social media presence. Get eyes on you as the product and use that “no” you heard to empower you to create more opportunities for growth and bookings. You got this!
Owner + Promoter
skype – @kimartlip