Recover From A Sales-​Call-​Gone-​Bad With These 3 Steps

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “Recover From A Sales-​Call-​Gone-​Bad With These 3 Steps”

Bombed a sales call? Yes, you can recover. But, your approach to recovery matters. Not every salesperson is going to execute a flawless call every time, so reps need to be prepared for when one happens to go awry. 

LinkedIn’s Paul Petrone discusses this issue in a blog post, assuring reps, “you’re not alone. Anyone who has ever tried to sell anything has bombed (many times) along the way. The real test is how you recover from it.”

To help reps with this frustrating issue, Petrone references a recent LinkedIn video by Lisa McLeod. He summarizes her video and lends his own insight to her suggestions, giving reps what they need to respond quickly and professionally, and then keep going.

Three steps to recover

The first step to successfully handling a disappointing sales call is to give yourself grace. Whether it was your first call or your 500th, it’s easy to be tough on yourself. Whether you misspoke, there was a tech mishap, or the prospect wouldn’t engage, things happen. What you should focus on is the fact that you are out there making calls and putting in effort. As Petrone points out, “Do you know the only thing worse than bombing a sales call? Never bombing a sales call. Because that means you are staying in your comfort zone, which drastically limits your success.”

While it’s completely normal to feel bad about a call gone wrong, don’t let yourself dwell too long. Recognizing that no one is going to achieve a 100% success rate and allowing yourself to stumble is the first step to recover and bounce back. Then, take a moment to step back and view the call from a different perspective.

Take a minute, review what went right, because it probably wasn't all bad,” McLeod advises in her video. “Then think about what went wrong and what you'd like to do differently next time.”

Next, “reset”

Now that you’ve allowed yourself time to process what went wrong (and right) and given yourself some grace, it’s time for the next step. Forcing yourself to do a mental “reset” will get you out of the negative mindset, which is necessary to successfully recover.

Your mindset has such an impact on performance. As discussed in a past post, an effective sales mindset is:

  • "A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations
  • A collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your destiny
  • A set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people, arising out of a person’s worldview or philosophy of life."

After an upsetting incident like a sales call gone wrong, you’re likely frustrated, discouraged and experiencing other negative feelings. If you stay in this state, all future actions are going to be negatively affected. So to recover, “reset.” “After you've reviewed the (bad call), mentally review a sale that went really great,” McLeod advises. “Because you don't wanna carry a negative mental model into your next call, you want to carry a positive mental model.”

Finally, own it 

In order to recover from a bad sales call, you’ve got to own up to what happened. No passing the buck or projecting onto others. Note your responsibility and don’t shy away from it, whether discussing what happened with your boss or the prospect. This shows your professionalism and inspires respect. It also sets you up to ask for a do-​over, if possible. 

Everyone blows a sales call every now and then. What’s important is how you recover from it. Take these tips to heart so that next time things don’t go as planned, you can rebound quickly. “How you handle failure as a rep is one of the biggest indicators of how successful you’ll be as a rep,” Petrone writes. “…if you can effectively process your failures and learn from them, you’ll improve quickly. And success will follow with it.”

For more insights on how to make the most of each call, check out SalesFuel's free whitepaper The 7 C's of Pre-​Call Intelligence.

Photo by Magnet​.me