It’s a simple — but unfortunate — fact of life for a salesperson that we simply can’t close every deal. Sometimes the reason is plain, sometimes it isn’t, and sometimes you simply never hear back. It can be frustrating and disheartening, but don’t let these “lost” sales bring you down.
“It is not a lost sale if we have not secured the sale in the first place,” reminds Bob Allen, owner of Dale Carnegie of Central Ohio. “Can’t lose what we really didn’t have in the first place. It will happen to us all from time to time…even more important is to not take it personally. Stuff happens.”
The ability to accept that lost sales will sometimes occur is an integral skill for anyone in a sales role. Of course you should go into every meeting confident that you will close this one, but if that doesn’t happen, don’t beat yourself up. Review what might have gone wrong, tuck away any lessons for later use, and move on to the next opportunity.
“I try to think about what I could have done differently,” says Jess Nicklos of JN Event Design, a Palm Beach, Florida-based event planner. “But if it’s nothing, then I take it as a good practice run for improving my process…I never see it as a total loss, since it helps me to practice and build confidence in my conversations and my offerings.”
Even after examining disappointing results for lessons, it can be easy for lost sales to sap the wind from your sails – but don’t let them! The best salespeople take a moment to review what happened, but then move on almost instantly.
“’No’s’ are a part of the process – no one gets ‘Yes’ 100% of the time,” explains Audra Karam, Director of Corporate accounts at Dale Carnegie of Arizona. “You just learn to say ‘next’ and find the ‘Yes.’”
Try to use these setbacks as motivation to chase your next opportunity. Perhaps you were really counting on the commission from this deal, and the loss of it hits you hard. It’s understandable to feel discouraged in this situation, but moping about it won’t improve your position. Instead, get right back on your feet and go after the next one.
“When the wise man is handed a lemon, he says: ‘What lesson can I learn from this misfortune? How can I improve my situation? How can I turn this lemon into lemonade?’” – Dale Carnegie