U.S.G's online collaboration of Successful Sales Champions is provided by Manevil Lewis, Executive Sales Coach.

How to Reframe Failure to Increase Sales Performance

May 28, 2015

Sales is a tough job.

Everyone in the company knows how you’re doing – at all times. When you’re new, you see insurmountable hurdles in front of you. When you hit a slump, it’s visible to the entire world.

People who are in marketing, IT or HR have no idea how challenging it is to learn, grow and stumble in full view of everyone else. 

How Fear Changes Your Sales Performance

The underbelly of sales is fear. Virtually ever seller I know goes through bouts of it. And, in reality, your success is contingent on how you handle it.

Your brain responds to threats like this just like it does to a saber tooth tiger. It can’t tell the difference. It immediately highjacks your thinking. Suddenly you can’t remember things. You can’t think of new ideas. You’re stumped and heading towards a downward spiral. Not good!

How “Cognitive Reappraisal” Works

In Agile Selling, I share numerous ways to deal with this anxiety. One of my favorite tactics is to reframe the situation— to detach from it and see it from a different perspective.

Research by experts in the field of psychology call this strategy “cognitive reappraisal,” and it really, truly does work.

How I Reframe My Failures

Over the years, I’ve been accused many times of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Despite the many challenges I’ve run into – and I’ve definitely had my share – I’ve chosen to find the upside and the opportunities within the reality.

The strategy that consistently works the best for me is to reframe my failures as “valuable learning experiences.”

When things go wrong – which they often do – I step back and ask myself questions such as, “What did I learn? Where did things start going wrong? Did I miss something? Or, how could I have done things differently?”

In short, I minimize the mind-numbing fear and reclaim my brain! “I’m not a loser.” “I didn’t screw up again.” Instead, I have an opportunity to get better. To learn new things and to grow.

At first it’s a challenge to train yourself to think that way. You literally have to stop fear in its tracks and tell yourself, “You’re not a failure. You just didn’t do it right – yet.” Over time this way of thinking becomes second nature.

Think about it! Reframing failure into a valuable learning experience changes everything. And that’s what helps you pull out of slumps and increase sales. Valuable-Learning-Experience_