From Pain to Profit: Resiliency Lessons for Sales

Good old Webster defines sales as “the exchange of goods, services, or property for money.” I contend we also engage in the act of “selling” when we want support for an idea, a course of action, or the engaged hearts and minds of people who work with us.

In short, everyone is in “sales”.

Rejection hurts and the pain can go from minor to severe. One young man was so demoralized when he didn’t get the hoped-for job that he literally refused to leave his home.  He thought he had not “sold” himself well.  A missed sales target puts one team in a blue funk that cast a shadow of gloom throughout the building.

So how does one move forward from rejection of any kind?  The following resiliency skills can prove useful.

1. Reframe the event. Instead of dwelling on the negative, seek other scenarios. Ask yourself what benefit can come from the rejection? What opportunity is now available because the “sales” did not happen? For example, it might be a time for the team to pull together and brainstorm these questions:

  • When we have done great work and gotten great outcomes, what conditions were in place?  Remember:  this is not a post mortem of personal blame.
  • How can we replicate those conditions or come up with an even better substitute?
  • Have we really identified the “need” our potential client has or are we operating under assumptions rather than facts?
  • How does whatever we are “selling” help the client with his or her need?

2. Seek what others know. Remember that many love to be considered a teacher and to give advice. Asking for help is rarely a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength and determination.

  • In the case of the job that was lost, consider returning to the hiring manager and asking him for advice. Specifically, “what would have made my application” work for you?  What can you tell me that would help me on my next interview?
  • In selling a product or service, ask the clients what improvements could be made to have them reconsider the product or service?  Is price an issue? Is timing an issue? Is design an issue?

3. Move on. Dwelling on what “was” will only become a pity party. If you have tried some portion of either #1 or #2, then move on. As the saying in poker goes, ‘You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” If the answer continues to be “no”, your mindset can be “Next!”.  Remember, when one door closes, another one opens.  But so often, we stare at the door that has closed, we miss the one that is opening.

4. Say thank you. Gratitude is a powerful personal and professional technique. Think of the times that you did NOT get a positive answer to whatever you were trying to sell. What benefit came from the “no”? Be grateful for that experience. Thank people for their time. Time is the single most priceless commodity humans have and it can never be restored.  When we take people’s time, we take part of their life which will never come back.  Few stop and say thank you.  It will set you up and, should there be a next time, I guarantee you will have a leg up on the others.

5. Ask yourself if YOU believe in what you are selling. How many times have we been approached by a sales person who, by his or her demeanor, was totally uninterested in what they were selling?  We don’t “buy” from people who have no energy behind a product or service… real energy, not phony baloney. People CAN tell the difference.

6. Disqualify yourself from the sales. This might sound strange but, on rare occasions, you might become aware that what you would like to sell is NOT in the client’s best interest. I actually gained a great client when I told them that hiring me was not the wisest use of their money given what they wanted to achieve. I offered up other solutions. A year later, the client came back because NOW they understood how to use me more wisely and I felt I could really be of help.

“Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up. Everyone gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.” Richard Castle

© 2018  Eileen McDargh   All rights reserved.


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