How to Recover From a Bad Sales Call

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Leslie Ye
Leslie Ye



recover-from-bad-sales-call.jpgYou just got off the phone with a prospect, and it didn’t go great. Maybe you fumbled a demo in a competitive situation. Maybe you had a terrible connect call. Or maybe your prospect was in a less-than-stellar mood and was outright rude to you.

It’s okay to be upset. It’s a natural reaction -- after all, you have high standards, and nobody wants to feel like they’ve screwed up at work. But a bad sales call can ruin your entire day if you let it, and you can’t afford for that to happen.

So how do you get yourself back into a positive mental space?

1) Get some distance (literally).

Recovering from a bad call is far easier if you physically leave your desk. Go for a walk or get a coffee.

By removing yourself from the physical space in which an unpleasant or unsuccessful call happened, you’re sending a powerful message to your brain to reset. Come back mentally fresh and your next call will be better.

2) Give your mind a break.

If you don’t have time to take a full-fledged walk and have to stay at your desk, don’t dive right back into selling. Take two or three minutes to focus on a task completely unrelated to your job -- watch a funny YouTube video, check social media, etc. The important thing is to focus on something other than sales, so you aren’t carrying any lingering emotions from your bad call into your next one.

Of course, there’s a caveat: confine your non-work activity to only a few minutes. Procrastinating is not the same thing as a short break.

3) Focus on the next call.

Professional athletes often say that to bounce back from a bad game, they keep their focus on the next one. Of course, there are lessons to be learned from performance errors (see below), but carrying baggage from past mistakes is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure.

A new call means a new prospect and a new opportunity. Remember that there’s nothing about your previous call that will affect the outcome of your next one, and start fresh.

4) Reflect on what went wrong.

We’ve all done something we wished we could take back, then spent hours or days obsessing over what went wrong. It’s only human.

It’s also not helpful. What’s done is done, and you can’t change it. The only productive thing you can do is try and learn something from the situation.

But not this instant.

Jot down some notes on what went wrong or set aside time to listen to a recording of your call if that option is available. Then, the next time you speak with your mentor or manager, seek constructive feedback. Avoid doing it too soon lest you end up venting your frustration at yourself or your prospect the entire time, but don't wait too long -- you might forget relevant details.

Resilience and grit are important traits for salespeople to possess. Everyone’s bound to make some mistakes on the job. What matters is how you recover. By turning a bad situation into a learning opportunity you prevent it from affecting future performance.

How do you get back in the game after a bad sales call? Let us know in the comments below.

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