Take disappointment in your stride to thrive in sales

Disappointments can be complex. Like the current rapid slowing down of economic activities because of the disruptive Corona virus.

You will face disappointments when selling. Expect it. Learn from it. As they say, ‘If you do not encounter the devil on your way to success, you are likely walking in the same direction.’

Logically, all sellers know that disappointments will come, rejection being the most stinging. Unfortunately, few psychologically prepare for it. And these few have learnt to take it in their stride. So adept are they at this, that we never see them in the light of failure but success.  A significant reason why most sellers fall by the wayside is not because they didn’t try, but that disappointment tried harder. Which is why they tell themselves, “It’s the economy (the customer or the product)” and make statements like, “Selling is hard” and “I was not cut out to sell.” 

Disappointments can be complex. Like the current rapid slowing down of economic activities because of the disruptive Corona virus. Whole industries have been incapacitated from continuing decline of sales in the billions of shillings. Luckily, that’s the exception. The norm is comparatively simpler. For instance, a colleague ‘stealing your sale’, or, “I’m so sorry. I forgot we had an appointment. Can we postpone?”; or, “The payment didn’t come through; please give us another month.” (And just like that you don’t meet your targets); or, after slogging away at a bid and being given all the signs you will win it, being told that, “The panel reviewed your proposal against our unique needs and within other competing business priorities and felt that we could not progress the engagement further at this time.“

We learn from mistakes but gain character from disappointments. Actively avoiding disappointment weakens your sales muscle and brightens the exit sign. Just as with the skills of interviewing, building trust, demonstrating, validating, negotiating and closing, also learn how to expect disappointment. And just as with all those other skills, be patient; it takes time.

Expecting to be disappointed takes an active, not passive, approach. It is also mental. You interpret the molehill unexpected turn of events for what it is and not a mountain of crippling disappointment.

Like the hawker who tells himself when you roll up the window on his approach that, “Possibly she had a bad day (or, she’ll roll it down tomorrow when she sees me selling masks).” No hard feelings; and he casually moves on to the next car. Yet another is to learn how to handle objections. Instead of being dejected by, “They keep saying we’re too expensive”, learn to respond with, “Price is what you pay value is what you get.” As for the ‘stolen’ sale, “Take it.” Because you understand, unlike you, his pool of potential customers is scarce of abundance.

Building such mental strength replaces the tension of disappointment that brings confusion, with the calmness of knowledge that brings clarity. And that my friend is what that stellar seller you admire has and you should build too.

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