How To Cope With The Little Losses When Things Are Mostly Fine

By Liz Reyer
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Q: I’ve lost several sales lately, and I’m feeling a bit dejected. Big picture, things are OK, so what can I do to keep my spirits up?

A: Maintain your perspective as you look for ways to turn around your outcomes.

For any given opportunity, there are many things outside of one’s control. The trick to turning around your current pattern is to determine which elements you could, in fact, influence if you just thought about them in a different way. Use your recent experiences, both positive and negative, to deepen your understanding of your sales process.

Look at the reasons you didn’t get certain pieces of business. There may be a surface reason, and then other, deeper reasons. For example, a customer may say your price was too high. Yet they may have selected a different company at a similar price. The real reason could be related to value, to the service experience they’ve been promised, or even to their comfort with the people on your sales team.

Once you’ve analyzed the reasons for your wins and losses, identify anything you’d do differently. Turning these experiences into a learning laboratory will help you gain a sense of victory rather than failure.

Then take a step back from the specific, individual results to look at the big picture of your role. Reflect on all of the positive aspects of your job. Don’t let them get lost in short-term disappointments.

Finally, look at the overall framework of your life, again, concentrating on the positives so that you build resilience to take on challenges.

You’ll get the most benefit from your reflections if you put them to work on future opportunities. Based on your “lessons learned,” create a process in which you consider whether any of the past pitfalls you’ve encountered could resurface. You might even create a checklist so that you remember to employ all of the lessons at your disposal. Be rigorous in planning your sales strategies so that you don’t have careless decisions to regret.

Also think about broadening your areas of influence. You may, for example, feel that you can’t influence pricing or service from your firm. But is that really true? Become an activist to drive changes that will benefit you, your colleagues and the company as a whole. Your influence may also be limited by personal gaps in skills or approach. In that case, seek out opportunities for self-improvement, including pursuit of training that your company may be willing to fund.

To remain upbeat, don’t let work become your whole life. Make plenty of time for friends, family and fun! If your personal life is stale, it’ll carry over to your work attitude. Likewise, focus on personal health and well-being, including attention to nutrition, exercise and a spiritual practice.

And celebrate your successes. You’ll never hit a point where all of your pitches win, but each win is a success, and losses should not be allowed to overshadow the wins.

It’s hard to hear “nos,” but learning from them and focusing on the “yesses” can help you keep your morale high.
Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes.

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