Sales mindset: How to recover from a bad sales call?

by Steli Efti

If you’re part of an inside sales team, this scenario is probably familiar to you:

You have a bad sales call; the person on the other end of the line is rude and uses you as an emotional punching bag. You hang up—and immediately vent your frustration: “Wow, I can’t believe this guy! Such an asshole!”

Another sales rep turns around and inquires: “What happened?” (The person asking that question is most often the person who is not performing well that day either. When you’re on a roll, you’re focused in order to stay in the game.)

Now you’ve basically got an invitation to keep venting, and that’s exactly what you’ll do: “You know what this guy said? He said bla bla bla! Can you believe this?! So I told him bla bla bla, and then he bla bla bla! Total asshole!”

Other sales rep: “Yeah man, I had a call like this last week, screw these assholes, bla bla bla.”

Now the next sales rep joins the conversation, and soon you’ve transformed a bunch of sales champs into a congregation of complainers. The whole room is filled with negative energy.

And for what?

Just because your feelings were hurt when a sales call went bad. Congratulations, you’ve successfully brought down your entire team.

What should you do instead right after a really bad call?

What’s a better way to recover from shitty sales calls and bounce back?

First of all, step away from the desk. Get up from your chair, and get out of the room.

  • Take a five minute break.
  • Get a coffee.
  • Go for a walk around the building. Go outside, take some fresh air.

Get some distance from what just happened, so you can have perspective.

When you return to your desk, do something that’s fun. Just take a minute or two and listen to your favorite song, or read some motivational quotes, do something that lifts up your spirits and puts you into a positive emotional state.

And then get back into the ring. Pick up the phone and dial another number. Close the next deal. Focus on the work in front of you.

Don’t put a lid on your emotions

There is a time and place to talk about bad feelings. Don’t keep it all inside. You absolutely should have an outlet for the stress bad sales calls causes.

But do it in the right setting and at the right time. Have a framework for expressing emotions that leads to a productive outcome, rather than a destructive one.

It’s best to have a designated time and place, rather than just impulsively letting it out:

  • When you’re at lunch
  • At team meetings
  • Have somebody in the sales team whom you regularly share your challenges and successes with—sometimes colleague can be the best coaches

By creating a structure for this, you avoid carrying the negativity over into other sales calls (or even worse, your personal life).

Ask yourself these questions to turn bad sales calls into growth opportunities

These questions direct your thoughts and feelings into a positive and productive direction:

  • How can I deal with people like this better?
  • What could I have said better?
  • How could i have managed the situation differently?
  • How could I have responded to the external and internal challenges better?
  • How can I deal with feeling bad?
  • How can I develop more emotional stability, and have more state control?

Come up with your own questions too, this isn't a complete list, it's just a starting point.

How real sales pros think of asshole-customers

Remember that those jerks are the reason you even have a job.

If everybody would be easy, there would be no reason for companies to pay salespeople to bring them business.

If you can turn an asshole into a friend, if you can turn no into a yes, if you can turn rejection into affection—that’s when you’re great at sales!

Next time when you have a shitty sales call … don’t do the easy thing and use it as a reason to bring the entire team down. Instead, do the hard thing and turn it into an opportunity to become a better (sales) person.

And if you need emotional fuel to sell like a champ every day ...

Get a daily sales motivation video via email