Sales is a competitive profession.
While celebrating successes is the part of the job, knowing how to deal with failures is important too.
Spending too much time dwelling on failures can be bad news, but getting the right approach to failures is what differentiates average salespeople from exceptional ones.
In this post, we explore some of the common scenarios where we see small sales failures and offer advice on how these can be approached to turn them into big wins.
Onboarding new employees is one area where sales failure is often found.
Failure at this stage isn’t necessarily due to employee incompetence in their role, but due to the period that it takes an individual to learn the business and get up to speed while trying to build the trusting relationships required to make sales.
Although this period is unavoidable, some time and planning can speed up the process and develop profitable sales professionals in a shorter time.
This can be done by developing a comprehensive and fully tailored training and development plan for each new starter. Instead of just having them follow the same process as all others in the business, take the time to identify the areas which they would benefit from the most and offer support in that area.
You may also use a senior mentorship scheme to help new employees get to grips with ‘how things are done’ within a business.
Inconsistency in sales has a serious impact on business success and can be common in more developed sales teams where they have been working with the same people, customers, and products for a long period.
A sales team developing an inconsistent sales pattern can happen for several reasons. External factors can impact consistency such as changes in buyer behavior, budget reallocations, or new staff not having a solid relationship with your sales team. However, a more common reason for sales inconsistency is a lack of motivation within your team.
When you spot inconsistency in your sales, identifying the reason for this is the first step in turning a failure in sales into a big win. Start by talking to your team and getting their honest thoughts on why sales have been inconsistent.
Although salespeople are often motivated by financial incentives, it is important to recognize that greater financial rewards will not always result in resolving inconsistency. Other factors such as not feeling challenged or not feeling supported can also have an impact.
Working with your team to resolve motivational factors will help you eliminate inconsistency and boost profit.
A Big Pitch Falling Flat
Delivering a big pitch to an important customer is always an exciting time. Yet when a considerable amount of effort and resource goes into a pitch, it can seem catastrophic when it falls flat.
A pitch failure can happen for any number of reasons from being a poor product fit to not being able to resonate with the customer.
It is important to remember that a failed pitch is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your customer. When you win a pitch, most people don’t take the time to learn why the customer said yes, but when it falls flat you can explore the reason behind this happening.
Getting in touch with your prospective client after a pitch, even if it failed, is a good way to build a relationship for future success. Asking them to help you understand how you can better serve them will show them how important they are to you as a customer. Approaching them for feedback will also provide you with the exact tools you need to knock your next pitch out of the park.
Sales Dropping Off
On occasion, sales can completely drop off with little or no warning. Of course, this can be a worrying time for businesses.
Although concerning, it is important to remain calm and take an analytic view when this happens. The first step is to identify exactly what has caused sales to drop. This may be due to external issues such as market crashes or competitors offering a better solution to your customers’ needs. Equally, you may face drops in sales due to internal issues.
A severe drop in sales can seem catastrophic, however, it also provides you with an opportunity to win big. Smart businesses that quickly identify sales drop off and adapt can easily outpace slower acting competitors and win a greater market share in a short period.
A big shock like a significant drop in sales can also lead businesses to deal with underlying issues that had previously gone unchecked, ultimately strengthening your business as a whole.
Taking the Right Approach
Most successful businesses have been through countless periods of uncertainty. Tackling adversity and turning failure in sales into wins is what makes businesses strong and resilient, securing ongoing success.
Taking the right approach makes all the difference. Small sales failures can result in an opportunity to learn and adapt from that failure so your business can not just survive, but grow and thrive.
What failures have helped you grow your business?
Now we’ve dealt with failures, check out these Sales Goals Examples to Take Your Team to the Next Level.