The Key to Being a Great Sales Professional – Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

06 Apr 2015 Bryan Shaw

Don't be

Know your client. Study your competition. Love your product. These are very important truths every sales professional needs to embrace. There is one truth, however, one common theme that must be adopted early on and in every sales career, and that theme is… don’t be afraid to fail!

Whether it’s your first sales position or simply the continuation of your professional journey within a new company, there will likely be an immense amount of information thrown at you in the beginning weeks.

Ask any seasoned sales professional how their first 10, 20 or even 100 calls / meetings went after starting a new job and most will tell you that they failed time and time again. This author even flubbed an important call early on at STS Technical Services by accidentally giving a new client an old employer’s name. What can I say? It happens to the best of us. All you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on.

Everyone fails, but the lessons we learn from those failures is what that matters most. Take five or ten minutes after you’re done speaking with a client and think about what went well during the call and what were the conversational areas that needed improvement.  If at all possible, share this information with your sales mentor as they’ll likely do everything they can to help you succeed.  Remember, your mentor was in your shoes at one point; they’ve made mistakes as well, and you should trust their experience to guide you through yours.

When getting started at a new company, you’ll probably fail to target the right contacts and not wholly understand the industries you’re going after. You may even struggle to fully grasp the ins and outs of the services / products you’re selling. But when you eventually hit your stride – and you WILL hit your stride – the sky’s the limit.

Working in sales is a lot like playing golf.  You hack your way around a course for 17 holes and feel like you’re failing miserably, but one perfect shot on 18 will leave you coming back for more.  As a sales professional, you’ll hit that one perfect shot as well. Don’t give up. Stay diligent, and use the time you’ve been given to sharpen your skills and hone your knowledge. When all things are said and done, and you’ve dedicated enough time to learning the ropes, remember the point I’ve been trying to drive home… don’t be afraid to fail and you’ll soon find yourself cruising down the avenue of success.