How losing a deal can make you a better sales person.

You can lose a deal for many reasons. Your product might not match your prospect’s needs, you might be facing a strong competing offer, or your prospect might not trust you enough to buy from you. While you can avoid some of these situations, you will still fail many times over. But failing is a bad thing, right?

No, it is not. At least not entirely. Real failures are those situations where you are not able to understand and learn why you failed. If you learn from your mistakes, you are improving, rather than failing.

Here is what you can learn from your failures:

1. Transforming rejection into motivation

You know this better that anyone else: selling sometimes is a highly emotional job, full of highs and lows, successes and failures and rejections are countless and sometimes really savage. The most important thing here, is that you do not let rejections in work life impact other parts of your life. You must learn to convert negative feelings into positive ones. If a prospect decides to not buy from you, take five minutes, go outside for a walk, grab a coffee or listen to your favorite music and turn those negative feelings into positive motivation. Every time you are rejected you get closer to succeeding. Every time you do not sell, you have an opportunity to learn what you are doing wrong. Rejection only feels bad if you want it to feel that way.

2. Improving your personal skills

You can be the perfect representative of your product and still not sell anything if your personality does not resonate with your prospects. If you are consistently matching the needs of your prospect with the solution you are offering, but you are still not making a sale, there is a high chance that your behavior affects the deal in a negative way. This topic is a tricky one, since your prospect will not be super honest about their decision to not buy from you, if your personality is a reason. One way to get some input here, is to practice your sales pitch with colleagues or even better an honest superior. Once you have valid feedback, you have to work on your personal skills. You can find some tips here.

3. Targeting the right prospects

One common reason why sales people deal with many failed sales situations is because they target the wrong people from the get go. I have seen countless sales reps schedule meetings with “potential customers” that will never buy, because they did not need the product we were selling. How can you improve in this area? Keep track of all your sales. Note what kind of prospects you are successful with and which prospects you never sell to. Track this over a long period of time, at least three to six months to have valid data. Lastly, stop calling those prospects that you never ever close a deal with, because they probably do not need your product.

4. Selecting the right tools

Another factor that affects your sales performance is the way you structure yourself and prepare for the meeting with your prospect. Let’s assume you had a meeting with the right prospect, you seemed to like each other, and you did a solid presentation. Still, your prospect did not buy from you because he simply was not convinced enough. If this situation happens, you might be lacking the right tools or methods to close the deal. Did you have convincing reference cases to show? Did you bring product samples? Were you able to show your competitive advantage? Did your laptop/iPad work properly? Did the product demo work fluently? Ask yourself these questions. The better the tools are you bring to your sales meetings, the higher will be your chance of closing the deal.

Therefore, the next time you fail, don’t put your hand in the sand. Of course it is a short term loss, but every failure can contribute to long term success. Always remember: Every failure brings knowledge to succeed in the future.