Read the biography of any business icon and you will find that failure played a defining role in his/her ultimate success. Were these individuals successful in spite of their failures or because of them? Or maybe it's their response to failure that establishes them as leaders and separates them from the pack. "Failure," in the form of rejection or a lost deal, is a fact of life for sales professionals. Here are some tips to make the most of your failures and ensure that they don't serve as a hindrance to the success of your consultative sales approach:
Keep it in perspective. Failure can be an event or a frame of mind, and its role in your sales life will depend on how you cast it. View failure as permanent and pervasive, and it becomes a frame of mind that jades your overall perspective and fuels a defeatist attitude. View failure as temporary, and in the context of an isolated event, and it has much less power to undermine your future endeavors and confidence as a sales consultant.
Survivor or victim? Choose to be a survivor instead of a victim when failure occurs. Victims focus on the perpetrator, with no responsibility taken and no progress made. Survivors build the internal strengths that carry them through tough times, a practice that is both empowering and motivating.
Use every failure as a learning opportunity. Failure is never fun, but that doesn't mean it isn't valuable. Explore with customers and prospects to understand why you did not get the business, but be sure to do so in a positive manner. Your goal is to gain insight, particularly regarding your professional selling skills, not to make the customer feel guilty for not choosing you. The message, "I always want to learn from my experiences to improve for the future. Would you be willing to share feedback on why you went with another provider?" is much more productive than, "I'm so sad and dejected. Why didn't you choose me?"
Let it go. "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die" (source: unknown). Failure is painful, and it can be difficult to let go of the disappointment. But holding a grudge against the organization or individuals who didn't buy from you only weighs you down and limits your own opportunities in the future.
Resolve to not fear and be defined by failure. Instead, use it as a spring board for your future success in consultative selling!