When you go through a full sales cycle, you experience the myriad of emotions which accompany it: rejection, fear, resiliency, purpose, fulfillment, defeat, success, and so many others. The emotions of selling are often cyclical, like the sales process itself. Closing a deal feels great—when you bring value to a client’s business or help them meet their objectives, it’s fulfilling. The larger the impact on a client’s business, the greater the sense of accomplishment.
The losses, however, don’t feel so great. And we all know there will be losses. Likely more than there will be wins. They’re part of a process, which we’ll evaluate a hundred times over—the conversations, the pitch, the strategy. It’s still a loss and losing sucks but, in the end, we’ll do our absolute best to understand why we ultimately lost. We must learn from losses by turning them into lessons (in other words, wins). We learn to bounce back from rejection and rely on our confidence and training to overcome it.
[bctt tweet=”In sales, we must learn from losses by turning them into lessons or WINS!” username=”emcoutdoor”]
Confidence – Overcome your fears.
Sales lessons come in many forms. To fully appreciate them, we must learn to cope with our losses and the emotions that follow. The most prominent, and arguably the most challenging to overcome, is fear. I’m sure you’ve heard Wayne Gretzky’s adage, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Well it’s true! When I first started in sales, I often found myself stalling to call prospects or clients, as I did not possess the self-confidence needed to just pick up the phone and make the call. This resulted in wasted time and missed opportunities.
Please note, I’m not suggesting that you blindly call prospects, clients, or partners. I’m a big advocate of call preparation, as it helps facilitate conversational direction and paint a clear picture of the preferred end-game. So, the next time you stall before a round of calls and frantically review phone scripts (which, by the way, rarely play out as I expect them to) think of this quote from Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Just pick up the phone!
Preparation – Rely on your training.
Now that you’ve made a few dials, reflect on how those interactions went. Were they insightful for both parties? Do you have a better understanding of what’s important to yourself and your client? Did you bring value to the exchange? Preparation is key and will allow you to easily answer these questions.
Confidence in the solution you’re offering will help avoid a poor exchange of information. Any uncertainty will become obvious, so make sure you’re well prepared going in and confident in your delivery. There’s a quote I’m a big fan of, which I often see applied to military and law enforcement roles, “You will not rise to the occasion; you’ll fall back on your training.” Be sure that you’ve prepared enough, and don’t try to get away without prepping for a meeting or presentation.
[bctt tweet=”Confidence in a solution will help avoid a poor exchange of information. Any uncertainty will become obvious, so make sure you’re well prepared going in and confident in your delivery.” username=”emcoutdoor”]
Resiliency – Hungry dogs run faster.
In sales, regardless of how confident your delivery is and how certain you are that your proposed solution will help solve your client’s problem, success is still ultimately dependent on the client’s decision to move forward. When they choose not to, it may be difficult to understand why. Budget? Timing? Proof of concept? Relationship with the client? The value and impact your solution is bringing to the table has been clearly explained, yet they’ve said no. You’ve lost. You’re frustrated. Sales Close Ratios vary by industry and often fall between 15 percent and 30 percent of qualified leads. And that’s only the qualified leads! If you were to account for every prospect which was contacted at least once, that closing ratio is going to dip into the single digit percentages.
Rejection is part of the job. As a salesperson, you know it’s coming. What matters is how you handle it. As soon as you become discouraged or upset because of a low success rate or low closing ratio, you risk losing enthusiasm and confidence, and become desperate for a win. The moment these emotions affect you negatively is when you’ve really lost. Shake it off. Move on to the next task at hand.
Last year when the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII, Jason Kelce made a speech during the parade which resonated with the city. In his speech he referenced a phrase held close by the offensive line, “Hungry dogs run faster.” It’s simple and honest. With discipline, drive, and the will to succeed, you should have no problem moving on to the next prospect or lead with the same level of enthusiasm as the prior. Success is contingent on your level of commitment, and how bad you want it.
Mindset – Ready yourself for success.
What can you do today, right now, before a sales meeting, to put yourself in a confident, positive state of mind? Do your say your ABC’s, so intricately laid out by Alec Baldwin in his Glengarry Glen Ross sales speech? Maybe you turn on your favorite song and jam out in the parking lot, like Dwight Schrute? For me, exercise helps me break away midday. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is coming my way after a solid workout.
Self-awareness and understanding how the various emotions of selling may alter your state of mind and approach to sales will allow you to better address those feelings. It may seem overly simple or irresponsible to just shake them off, but it really is that simple! Acknowledge them, then move on. Find a way to beat those emotions, turn them into motivation and an opportunity to build self-confidence. Determine what works for you, address the emotions, and keep moving forward. Go get ‘em tiger!
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