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How Great Sales Managers Handle Lost Deals

It is a fact of life in sales: your people will lose more deals than they’ll win. As their manager, it’s important that you know how to be sensitive, empathetic and understanding to how your people feel when this happens. Here are some tips to help you hone your approach to handling lost deals with your team:

Understand the context – You need to learn why the individual lost the deal. Try to get that information firsthand from the client at a debriefing meeting or on the phone. If you can’t, then you need to talk to your employee himself and find out why this happened and whether or not it could have been prevented.

Demonstrate empathy – Nobody likes to lose, especially in a business as demanding as sales. Leaders need to be aware of that and empathize with their people when they follow up on lost deals. Tell them you realize how much effort they put in and how much they wanted to win the deal. Reference some of the things they did well and let them know you truly appreciate their efforts.

Balance your feedback – You also need to address the fact that the individual missed an opportunity. Ask them what they could have done differently. Share your perspectives on why you think they lost. See if you can identify ways to prevent those things from happening again.

Be careful with your delivery – Be sure to communicate in a way that shows you want to help your people, not criticize or punish them. If the individual was lazy, complacent, or took the opportunity for granted, you need to let them know that in no uncertain terms. But do it in a way that maintains your authority without impacting your image as a leader.

We all hate to lose. But if there is a silver lining to losing, it’s that it creates an opportunity to learn and improve. That’s where you come in. Remember that your job as a leader is to motivate your people, keep them feeling good about themselves and ensure that they are committed to doing great work. Keep this in mind, and your people will thrive.

Do you have any other tips on responding your people’s lost deals? Leave a comment and let us know.