Life is full of lessons you learn twice. First you learn them academically (from a book, teacher or blog) then you learn them practically. The second lesson typically involves broken bones or bruised egos, but that’s what it takes to change behaviour.
As usual, sales is a lot like life. You can spend hours reading books, listening to big billers and studying sales strategies but there are some things you can only learn from experience. Some of those lessons are going to come from closing a deal but the ones that really matter involve being shown the door.
There Are No Sure Things
It’s so close you can smell the commission… and then it all falls apart. It’s the most frustrating moment in sales and it happens to everyone. Maybe you didn’t ask if the client was considering other options. Maybe you forgot to pre-close on your last call. Maybe the client forgot to mention the six month sabbatical to Bhutan they had scheduled.
It doesn’t matter. The deal is dead. All that’s left is a post-mortem to see how you can prevent it from happening again. (Protip: It’s going to happen again.)
A Full Pipeline Is Key
This is the secret to avoiding the feast/famine cycle that’s all too familiar to everyone working in sales. It’s also not going to sink in until you learn the previous lesson and realize your shot at making quota this quarter disappeared with that big deal and you’ve got nothing on the go to replace it.
Once you’ve learned this lesson you’ll do a better job next time, but it’s always going to be a challenge to force yourself to do the boring stuff when you’ve got something hot on your desk.
Deals Don’t Die, They Just Hibernate
You put in the time, it didn’t pan out and you moved on. Now, when you least expect it, you’re getting a call from the client and they want to give it another try. It’s the flipside of our first lesson and it’s going to feel like winning the lottery.
It’s also a reminder that there are a lot of reasons you might not make a sale. You can’t control them but you can put yourself in a good position when things change.
Are there any other sales lessons you learned from getting rejected? If so, share them in the comments!