I was reading some quotes today by the legendary sales guru Zig Ziglar and one stuck in my mind
“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker”
The quote stood out to me for many reasons and I think it is particularly pertinent to salespeople
Sales can be one of the toughest professions out there. Salespeople are constantly having to work to bring in new business all the while meeting their quotas and KPIs.
And the kicker? They also have to deal with rejection.
As salespeople, we need to adopt the mindset that a ‘no’ is not always a no, more often than not it is a ‘not now’. In my experience most of the prospects I have met with have eventually become valuable clients, many of them I didn’t close on our first meeting.
I remember feeling the rejection when I didn’t close the sale, but in the back of my mind, I knew that one day the timing would be right and I would.
A valuable piece of advice my Jiu-Jitsu instructor once told me is that “You either win or you learn” or in sales “You either close or you learn”.
The key is to learn something from every sales interview, consider what you could have done better or the motivations behind the prospect's decision.
Some of the reasons that prospects don’t buy of you straight away are -
You may not have uncovered their need - the prospect could not see the need
Their need may not have been urgent enough for them to act upon immediately
They may not have had funding to cover the cost of your offering
You may not have been dealing with the decision maker
Your referral was not strong enough
We can make the mistake of thinking we missed something in an interview and that was what lost us the sale, but often the buyer just wasn’t in the right place to commit.
By staying front of mind with your prospect through networking, referral groups, and email newsletters; you will be the first person they contact when the time is right.
The Brevet Group found this interesting statistic -
"80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after one follow-up"
Sales cycles are different for every prospect, we can’t close them all in that first interview. You may even have to be referred back into that business at a later date.
A recent client we worked with had been in our pipeline for over three years, it just took the right referral from a trusted advisor to close the deal.
Don’t think of every sale you didn’t close as a failure, think of it as a learning experience.
If you can shift your focus from rejection to “What did I learn from this?” and from ‘No’ to ‘Not Now’ it will change how you think about sales in the best possible way.
It certainly did for me.
Don’t focus on the negatives when you can’t close a sale - ask yourself what did I learn from this, why couldn’t we come together and what can I do better next time?
A 'no' is more often than not a 'not now'. The buyer may not be ready to make the deal then and there, keep front of mind so when they are ready, so are you.
Have a great month!