Are you wondering how to define failure in sales? It’s probably not the way you think. It really is more than just not making their sales quota this month.
A Billionaire’s Definition of Failure
I once saw an interview with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx and America’s youngest female billionaire. In the interview she said her father taught her a different definition of failure growing up. She was taught that instead of defining failure as the outcome, define it as not trying.
In my opinion, the same definition of failure should be applied to sales. Think about it. How many more salespeople would be successful in they concentrated on the efforts required to make a sale, as opposed to just whether or not they closed a sale?
How Should You Define Failure for Salespeople – A Management Perspective
Let’s look at it from a management perspective. Instead of not reaching quota as the definition of failure for our sales representatives, we should define failure as them not completing the daily activities required to achieve it. If they didn’t make a sale today so be it. They can still leave the office and consider themselves successful if they did everything they were supposed to have done to open one.
This new definition of failure could change the way we coach our teams. For example, weekly reports wouldn’t just talk only about sales closed during the past week. They would also talk about how many sales appointments are booked for the upcoming week. Sales contests wouldn’t be based solely on final sales results. We could also have a component based on sales activities. Perhaps the number of fact finds completed or presentations made could qualify, for example.
We as sales managers could judge our own success differently too. Perhaps we could track the number of joint field work calls completed with our representatives in addition to our team’s results.
Remember, your sales representatives have to start a sale in order to close a sale. If we manage their inputs, we will receive better outputs.
How Should Salespeople Define Success?
Instead of just looking at the outputs as a measure of success or failure in sales, we should look at the inputs. In other words, instead of not reaching quota as the definition of failure, we should define failure as not completing the daily activities required to achieve it.
If you didn’t make a sale today so be it. You can still leave the office and consider yourself successful if you did everything you were supposed to have done to open one.
Want more information and detailed instructions on how to redefine your definition of failure? First, identify the inputs and daily activities you need to succeed by downloading our free Goal Setting and Action Planning Worksheet and our Monthly Prospecting Activity Calculator from the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.
Remember, it’s not how many sales you closed today, it’s how many you started today.
“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”
Do you have a question about sales? You’re not alone. Most salespeople have questions like this on how they can sell more. For the right answers, check out my book, Ask the Sales Coach-Practical Answers to the Questions Sales People Ask Most.