One of my favorite quotes to recall in life and in sales is by Dr. Seuss:
I think this is applicable to sales and the importance of remembering that your prospect’s buying decision is simply not yours to make. No matter what you do, or how much effort you exert, in the end, it is your prospect’s decision. You must remove your ego from the sales process and realize there is a limit to what you can do.
This may fly in the face of what you’ve been taught to believe as salespeople; that you’re supposed to be able to get your way every time, no matter what. While good salespeople get their way more often than bad ones, there is nobody out there with a 100% closing rate. The attitude that ‘every sale can be made if I say the right thing right now’ only perpetuates that negative stereotype that we’ve all come to know and hate. Dr. Seuss was trying to warn us all those years ago (twice!) that things aren’t always going to go our way. You will do well to remember that when things aren’t.
A major key to success in sales is managing your emotions. You can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. The best way I’ve found to manage my emotions is to focus more on the process and worry less about results. After all, a consistent process will yield more predictable results. That doesn’t mean that you don’t celebrate the wins or even mourn the losses, but your objective should always be to focus on what can be done. Your goal should be less about actually making sales, and more about positioning yourself to make as many as possible, knowing that if you do enough of the right things, you’re going to be successful.
Focus on what you can control:
- Making a connection with your prospect
- Effectively creating the necessary context around your solution
- Understanding the needs of your customer
- Tailoring your solution to those exact needs
- Creating enough constructive tension in the process to make a decision necessary
- Asking for the next step
If you do all of that, you’re going to make sales… a lot of sales. But you’re not going to make all of the sales because the factor in the equation that you can’t control is the customer.
Sometimes their situation changes. Sometimes they never intended to buy from you at all, and they’re just trying to get a better deal from their current supplier. Sometimes they just outright disappear. What are you supposed to do about that? Get back out there and work your pipeline.
A good friend of mine used to say, “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains,” and you’ve got another ballgame to play tomorrow.
Jeff Bajorek challenges sales professionals to rethink the way they sell. He helps sales teams design and implement sales strategies that focus on common-sense fundamentals that most people have either forgotten or ignored. He shares his sales expertise every week in his newsletter, on The Why and the Buy podcast, and on his YouTube channel. You can purchase Jeff’s latest book, The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting, here.