Tips for Winning and Losing with Grace

Discover how your sales etiquette after winning and losing can impact future business.

February 6, 2017

  • sales-lose-gracefully

The old adage “You win some, you lose some” is fitting for the up-and-down nature of sales. How we handle our wins and losses can dictate the number of wins we score moving forward. If we overly celebrate we run the risk of alienating teammates, who may be less apt to help in the future. Acting like a sore loser, on the other hand, can cost you any chance of winning a prospect’s business (or gaining referrals from them) in the future.

We put together a list of tips for sales reps to keep in mind when they encounter the inevitable wins and losses in sales. 

When You Win 

1) Don’t gloat: If you work in sales, you thrive on pressure and deal in unknowns. So when you receive the yes, it’s natural to be excited. You just need to make sure you contain your excitement.

While confidence is a great quality to possess, braggadocio is a generally unattractive trait. Take your victories with a sense of humility. By over-celebrating your achievement, you’re sending a message to your fellow sales reps that can be perceived as an air of superiority, which can impact team morale. No one likes a jerk, even a successful sales-making jerk. So don’t act like one.

2) Celebrate your teammates: Think about the Super Bowl this past weekend. No matter who wins the prestigious Super Bowl MVP trophy, there’s a near certainty that the player will begin their acceptance speech by either thanking their teammates or coaches. This happens so often that, in Las Vegas, you can bet on whether the MVP first thanks their coaches or teammates.

Sales reps should take notice of this. When you close a deal, make sure you recognize those who helped you succeed. You’ll need their help and support on the next sale and by expressing your gratitude for their work they’ll remain motivated to help you.

When You Lose

1) Thank the buyer: It’s natural to be frustrated when the buyer decides to go with a different seller. But reps need to swallow those feelings and thank the buyer for their time and consideration. Maintaining a positive relationship with the buyer allows you to keep the door slightly ajar for future opportunities.

You may even want to consider writing them a hand-written thank you note. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way.

2) Accept personal culpability: Staying in line with thanking your teammates when you close a deal, it’s important to learn from your unsuccessful sales. That means accepting responsibility for the end result.

After your sale falls through, retrace all the steps you took during the process. Try to identify any mistakes you made and aim to correct them. Ask yourself, “How could I have handled this situation more effectively?” If you’re not sure, pose the same question to your manager or a trusted colleague.

While retracing your steps, you may also recognize errors by your team members. Delivering constructive feedback to others tends to be much more effective when you’re transparent about your own shortcomings. If you succeed as a team, you fail as a team.

The key to handling your wins and losses is to demonstrate grace and humility in either case. Learn how to secure more sales wins worth celebrating this year. Check out our eBook Crossing the Chasm: How to Capitalize on the Social Selling Trend.