Have you ever lost a sale?
Did you take it personally and walk around thinking and feeling like a failure for awhile?
The bad news is that failures will probably continue to happen in your life.
The good news is that you can choose to see your failures as opportunities from which to learn.
If you failed at a goal, a task, a sale, or anything else in your life, know that you as a person did not fail. You, the person, are made up of your character, and you, the role, is the role you are committed to (mother, father, teacher, friend). You as a person do not fail, but you in a certain role might not succeed at everything you try.
The real you is defined by your self-identity, and maintained by your sense of self-worth. For example, you might be determined, have integrity, follow your heart, or listen well.
The role "you" is defined by your performance in a specific role, and sometimes those roles can be confused with the real you (for instance, as a spouse, a parent, a coach, or a salesperson). Even though you might not always exceed expectations in those roles, that doesn't devalue your self-worth.
Even if you might acknowledge this reality intellectually, it can be a lot harder to accept it emotionally. So before you can learn from your failures, first, you need to learn how to fail. Or rather, how to react when you inevitably do fail, by putting the situation in perspective.
Not meeting an expectation or goal does give you the chance to define where there's room for improvement.
As a salesperson, this means that not getting an appointment or closing a sale does not mean you have failed, it just means you have room to improve your sales approach.
To stop taking failures personally, begin to try to think about them objectively. If this happened to someone else, while you would sympathize, you would also likely give advice on how to do better next time. Do the same for yourself. Analyze your approach, the behavior of your prospective(s) during conversations, and the decision-making moments. Think about changes you can make that might bring different reactions each step of the way.
You will know when you have learned to accept failure as a necessary step in improving your skills, rather than taking it personally, when you start thinking about each situation as a lesson to learn from.
Once you realize that you as a person have not failed, you can come to terms with your results and begin to use them to accelerate your success.
Recognizing failure as an experience to learn from gives you freedom to try new methods, explore different creative options, and make goals outside of your comfort zone.
Copyright 2013 Sandler Training and Insight Sales Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.
John Glennon is the owner of Insight Sales Consulting Inc, the authorized Sandler Training Licensee for the Interior of British Columbia. He can be reached at [email protected], toll free at 1-866-645-2047 or visit www.glennon.sandler.com