I could never be in sales, I’m too sensitive, I can’t take rejection, good sales people are heartless.
One of the sweeping generalities of sales people is that they do not have feelings of hurt and rejection when they lose a deal. While there might be sales professionals who do not feel the “agony of defeat”, those who do feel that agony, are the ones that care the most about the customer. They are invested in the customer and the outcome.
As a sales professional, allowing yourself to become vulnerable with your customers generates a fire and passion that might not otherwise be there if you’re too “heartless.” If you hold back, you are not putting it all on the line; if you play it safe, you lose your transparency. The campaign then becomes a clinical exercise of executing a strategy through a carefully constructed set of controlled tactics instead of a personal crusade to advance your beliefs that you, your offering, and your company can really help your customer more than the competition. And you will not rest until you have proved it.
So, what do you say when you have put your “heart” into it and you still lose?
Not, “My price was too high.” As a sales professional, it is your job to know the pricing range in which you will be competing. Once you know the range, and choose to stay in the pursuit, you can no longer justify the loss by blaming it on price.
Not, “our offering was not as good as our competitor’s.” It is unlikely that you or a sales colleague has not gone up against the competitor before. That being the case, you knew you would be offering to a mutual prospect. Once you have “Competitive Intelligence”, and you elect to stay in the pursuit, you cannot use offering superiority as a reason for losing.
There is only one, honest thing that can be said once you have lost a sales pursuit: “I was outsold.”
In going through the sales pursuit process, once you have qualified the opportunity, and decided to engage in a sales pursuit, you have determined you can win. Yet, if you do not win, the only reason is because you executed an inferior sales campaign.
Admitting you have been outsold means you have accepted the responsibility for orchestrating and managing a sales campaign aimed at winning. When you suffer a loss, it flags an ineffective sales campaign, and it places the blame squarely on the shoulders of the sales professional who conducted the campaign, this is why losing hurts so much. No one likes when their poor performance is revealed, but the more you accept when you’ve lost, the more you mature as a sales professional and you learn from each loss.
To avoid the “agony of defeat”, call in your manager when things start to go south - or even sideways. This will activate a key principle in selling: never lose alone. The more people you bring in, the more people we can share the burden of the pursuit. But, if you are truly a great sales professional, you will accept the blame yourself when you encounter a loss.
If you are really ready for total self-honesty for why you lost a deal, take a deal that you lost and complete the Pursuit Profiler in the StormTracker.™ After you’ve completed the six components, the tool will tell you where and why you were “outsold”. At that point you can either rationalize away the negative scores or reflect on them with a growing determination never to let that happen again. If you’ve chosen the latter response, you will have just taken a major step forward in your professional career!