You don’t have to be sitting in front of a blackboard, attending a boring sales lecture and sweating over tough examinations to learn something. The fact is, as soon as life hits us after the alarm clock sounds – we are learning. However, so many people trudge through life bouncing off it like a trampoline – they fail because they are out of control as they allow life to throw them from pillar to post.

mistakesDay in, day out sales people make life a whole lot worse and see great sales stats plummet because they go back and do the same thing again and again and make the same errors again and again simply because they do not learn from their experiences – successes and mistakes.

Taking stock and using that knowledge for future practice is the key to successful sales and marketing.

We often feel better if we put our mistakes to the back of our mind. But we would all end up pretty battered and bruised at the end of a day of selling if we did not learn to look back at our actions and think – why did that happen? Why did he put the phone down before I could start my pitch? Why did they fail to answer my call back?

It also saves a lot of heartache. We feel guilty, angry at ourselves, our confidence drops when we make a mistake if we just look at them from a negative point of view.

Change your mind set. Mistakes are not a negative event – they are a positive event. Mistakes maybe painful at times but they are also really, really useful. In fact, let’s take the word mistake out of it. It’s just a life event that did not go in your favour. What will you do different next time to boost your confidence and get your sales targets back on track?

What you have just experienced is a learning opportunity

Don’t beat yourself up – just make sure you don’t do the same thing again and you will grow, as will your sales and your career.

You need to set time aside (schedule it in to your diary either at the end of the day, week or month) when you can look back and analyse the good, the bad and the ugly.

This can have such a profound effect on how you work – it is part of the selling process itself. You will learn new golden nuggets to streamline your work in the future. Separating the past from the future. Using the past to make the future better – give it real time. Ask yourself these four simple questions:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What have I learned and will do differently next time?
  • What still puzzles me?

Making it even better

Often as you look for patterns in your behaviours in successes or failures you will see attitudes or actions which may well have triggered a triumph or caused an issue. But sometimes that pattern is much more difficult to see alone. A little like a writer editing her own work. 

Where possible ask a colleague to sit down with you and go through the salient points you have highlighted or use it as a useful time period where you both can go through pitches together. Be honest and don’t hold back where you feel you may have made a mistake.

Don’t forget – everything can be a learning experience. Everything can move you forward if you want it to.


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