4 Solution Selling Tips to Recoup after a Failure

Cartoon of a discouraged miner quitting just when he was near the money goal

Because most experienced sales leaders have failed at one time or another, they know the solution selling tips required to recoup themselves and their teams after a failure.

Failure…it happens to all of us no matter how many solution selling training program certifications we have or how good we are at selling complex solutions. We find ourselves within reach of closing the big deal and then learn our proposal falls flat or our prospect no longer returns our calls or is a no-show at our agreed-upon meeting.

It is discouraging to say the least. But we need to be wary of the impact it has on our solution selling behavior going forward. And, especially as sales leaders, we need to support our sales team in the face of failure so they don’t succumb to defeatist attitudes.

We have to learn how best to support our sales reps when they are not performing well or up to expectations. Assuming the failure was not due to pure bad luck, inadequate effort or a faulty approach, here are some tips on how to help your sales rep recoup their positive attitude and succeed. The solution selling tips come from solution selling experts in how to change the game…baseball managers who must deal with pulling their top hitter out of a slump.

  • Help your “player” gain some perspective.
    First know that being in a slump is scary. Your player can’t help but feel that this could be symptomatic of the rest of their sales career. Try to focus on their past record of sales success and assure them this slump will not last.
  • Reflect on what went wrong and practice, practice, practice.
    In baseball, players will be videotaped to identify mechanical flaws. In sales, reviewing customer interactions might reveal a selling weakness that can serve as a learning point. Baseball managers work to correct the weakness through batting practice; sales managers can do it through customized solution selling training, sales role plays and sales coaching.
  • Recognize that the failure is probably more mental than mechanical.
    Help your “player” regain their focus. They need to be clear headed and visualize success. Try to set up sales situations where they can experience success and turn a downward trend into a positive one. Build their sales confidence. Baseball players and sales reps alike need to believe they can do it.
  • Make sure the poor sales performance does not color future performance.
    A failure should end up being informative in that you learn from what went wrong. Then it’s time to move on so the slump doesn’t affect the next “at bat.”

Periods of selling failure are tests of a sales person’s resolve to persevere and improve. They should be a stepping stone to get better at what you do. Accept a “sales slump” as a life experience and re-focus your energies on the next opportunity to win a key deal.

To get more solution selling tips, download our Sales Toolkit: “10 Important Tools for Sales Leaders”

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