Sales, fight the self doubt

When you do a pitch or send off a proposal and hear nothing back, what does this mean?

The answer is, you don’t know! When we don’t know the answer to something we want to know the answer too, self doubt becomes our shadow. We start to imagine what might be the reason and as the minutes tick by without hearing anything we start to imagine the worse, which in sales is a no with no feedback. In this blog I provide tips on how to manage the quiet period of not hearing back and how to handle the no with no feedback.

I’ve done pitches and proposals expecting to hear back quickly, especially if they’ve been enthusiastic and I’ve learnt, not to stress about when I hear back. When you leave the room post pitch or press send on your proposal you have no idea what is going on for your potential client. You have no data on their world.

If you don’t hear back when you expect, don’t let it derail you, let self doubt take over, take a minute to answer the below questions.

1) Did you set an expectation with your potential client on when you would hear back? If yes has that timescale passed significantly?

2) If you didn't set an formal expectation on when you would hear back did your potential client mention anything that sets your expectations? For example did they mention any upcoming holiday or busy period in their workload?

3) How long did it take you to respond to the last pitch or proposal you were involved in (this can be work or personal life). Often we expect quicker responses from others than we respond ourselves. Remember, your pitch/proposal might not be as high a priority for your potential client as it is to you.

4) If you were to redo your pitch or proposal, would you change anything? If yes take the learning forward, if not then refocus on the next thing to do on your list.

Sometimes I hear back quickly, sometimes it’s a week or two, or even a month and once in a while it’s a longtime after. When I do hear back, there’s always a reason if it’s been a while, a reason I wouldn’t have considered when letting self doubt take over. 

Pitching, creating proposals, doing discoveries calls are emotional as we put our energy and time into them. Celebrate the yes’s, learn from the no’s and the silence, don’t let that effect you. The majority of the time, you’ll get an answer to why the silence occurred in due course.

In the situation where you hear a no for a pitch or a proposal without any constructive feedback as to why, never be afraid to ask for feedback. Some people don't think to explain, however are more than happy to do so if you enquire. I've had pitches and proposals turned down for my workshops and through continuing to network with that potential client and understand why they said no, in time it's turned into a yes.

If enquiring for constructive feedback results in silence then let it go. If you can't get clarity from the potential client then there is nothing you can do further. If reflecting on your pitch or proposal doesn't mean you would change what you did and how then refocus your attention on the next pitch or proposal. In time you may hear back and learn more or you might not.

In sales it's important to reflect on the no's and revisit those's where you are currently in the silence period, however don't let them overshadow the yes's you have achieved. A no can turn into a yes in time and silence can be broken, your self doubt affecting you won't have any impact on what is occurring, other than to you and your confidence and motivation.

Here is a link to a 90 second tip to raise your confidence and motivation!!

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