Letting Go


If you’ve been in sales for more than a minute you’ve heard plenty of “the big one that got away” stories. It happens to even the best salespeople – the surefire big sale that never came through. It’s a blow, of course, but you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on.

You’ve probably also known the guy who just can’t seem to do that. He lost the sale and he just can’t get over it. He mourns the loss, grieving for what might have been…and usually, his career suffers.

It’s important to avoid becoming that man or woman. Here are some ideas for moving on.

Recognize It Before It Happens
If you look back on a missed sale, you can probably identify the red flags because hindsight is 20/20. And while there are dozens of reasons someone might say “No” to your product, learning to recognize the warning signs ahead of time could help avoid spending too much time on a prospect that will never become a client.

Is he or she the final decision-maker? Are they stuck on a price issue? Have there been issues about timing?

Recognizing these signals can help you cut your losses early and move forward to the next sale.

Seek to Understand
In the event that the big one does get away, take a moment to look back on the sales process and the conversations you had and see if you can identify exactly where the almost yes turned into a definite no. Don’t hesitate to ask them, too, why they decided against your product. It may be something inherent to the product that you can’t change, or it may be something you could do differently in the future. 

Lean In
Sales is a lonely position – your success or failure falls squarely and solely on your shoulders. But lonely and alone are two different things.

Don’t let yourself become an island. Surround yourself with co-workers and friends who you can lean on during difficult times. Share a meal, talk about your loss and learn from their experiences. It’s okay to be human.

Hit the Reset Button
After you’ve licked your wounds, so-to-speak, gathered information about why the sale didn’t go through and feel confident that the same mistake won’t happen twice, hit the proverbial reset button and start again. Whether you set a date in your mind (“Tomorrow, I move on!”) or you jump up out of your chair at any given moment (“I’m cutting my losses right now!”), give yourself a definitive point in time to leave the past behind and forge ahead with renewed energy and determination.

Tell us about the big one that got away (and how you moved on) in the comments below.

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