Well, it's that time of year–yep, it's back to school for the kids. Summer is over and now it's back to the books and lessons.
I'll bet you've never thought about how salespeople have to study their 'lessons' as well–but they do.
In fact, every sales call a salesperson makes will result in one of four outcomes:
1) a yes
2) a no
3) a time-based future event
4) a lesson
Focusing on #4, a guiding principle for salespeople is this: They will make more sales (and more money) from a sale they didn't get …and know why, than from a sale they did get…and don't know why. So they should celebrate the lost sales because those are the ones that will help them be more successful in the future.
Why? Because if a salesperson learns what not to do in the sales process–they didn't ask enough questions,didn't ask the right questions, didn't listen effectively, failed to push back at the right time, chose not to challenge what the prospect told them in an appropriate manner, etc.–the next time they find themselves in a similiar situation, they'll perform more effectively because they've learned what doesn't work.
There is a second, and maybe even more important reason to take a lesson from a lost sale. One of the biggest challenges for salespeople is dealing with rejection.
They encounter it every day. Rejection looks like:
-Prospects who don't want to take their call
-Prospects who don't want to meet with them
-Prospects who don't call them call them back
-Prospects who tell them 'no'
And the key point is not if salespeople will run into rejection but when…and how they will react. Will they recover and how quickly can they do that? Taking a positive (a lesson) from a negative event will help a salesperson recover better and faster from being rejected.
Here's the takeaway for sales leaders and salespeople. At the end of a sales process, the question for sales leaders and salespeople to ask themselves is this: "What's the biggest lesson you (or I) learned from this sale?" I use the word 'biggest' because there will probably be multiple lessons to be learned. Start with the lesson that's most impactful and work your way down the list. How can those lessons be applied for upcoming sales meetings? And don't forget to stroke (verbally) your salesperson for the good things they did. This will reinforce those behaviors and ensure they're repeated in the future.