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SDRs Get Failure Wrong

3 tips to turn failure into victory

Chris Ritson

9 Feb 2024

3 mins

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‘‘Every day you’re a salesperson is a day you will experience a form of failure. It’s inevitable. Part of your job is to accept it, learn from it and move on’’. 

That was my boss after I’d had another bad day on the phones. 

To be honest, it was one of the most pivotal pep talks I ever had. 

It changed the way I thought about my job, my profession even my identity. 

I wasn’t a salesman, I was a ‘‘failsman’’. 

Rather than just looking for sales, I actively started putting myself in positions there was a high probability I wouldn’t do well. 

→ Cold Calls, Cold Emails, Cold DMs, Public Speaking, you name it. I tried it. 

Today, I want to share with you 3 tips for how you can turn failure into success. 

Let’s dive in.

If you win, great. If you fail, you learn. 

Most sellers despise failure. The fear of looking silly in front of your peers, friends and colleagues paralyses you from taking action. 

But know this; if you don’t take action you can’t win. You can’t win consistently if you don’t master your craft. You can’t master your craft if you never learn. You can’t learn if you never fail. 

Simply put; No failure = no learning = no mastery = no results. 

Sure, you’re going to feel like a complete moron sometimes. 

But the difference between the winners and the losers is how they bounce back. 

So how can you turn more failures into victories? 

Here’s 3 tips to help you do it: 

Tip #1: The Art of Reflection 

Ever got to the end of a bad day and just wanted to shut your laptop and hide? 

Me too. I feel like that somedays even now. 

But the difference between me 5 years ago and me now is I allow myself time to reflect on why something didn’t go the way I wanted it to. 

Sure, it’s a bit painful the first couple of times you do it. But in order to ‘accept, learn and move on’ you have to face what went wrong. 

Example - Let’s say you had 5 conversations on the phone today and booked no meetings. Don’t just close your laptop and hide until tomorrow. 

Instead, do what I do, write it down, note down your strategy, what you said, how your prospects responded. Now ask yourself what can be improved? 

It’ll be tough at first but the more you practice the art of reflecting the easier identifying your mistakes will become. 

And better still, the next day you’ll come in, make your dials and won’t make as many of those mistakes. 

But if you never give yourself time to learn, how can you expect to be better? 

You won’t. You’ll just feel the same. 

Tip - mark 10 mins in your diary at the end of your day for ‘reflection’. 

Tip #2: Optimise Your Game Plan 

When you have an idea about what went wrong and what could be improved, your next step is to adapt your approach, based on your guesses. 

If you didn’t book any meetings from your conversations? 

  • Is your list of prospects the right fit? 

  • Do you have a strong enough script to build trust? 

  • Are you able to explain the problem you solve for that individual? 

  • Maybe you haven’t ever been trained on objections? 

There are many reasons why you could have failed. 

I recently had my Cold DM reponse rate drop off on LinkedIn. I shared some of my messaging with a friend and they offered up some advice to simplify things. 

Sometimes we’re so in the weeds of our own day to day we forget to come up for air. It’s just about being open minded enough to accept failure will follow you if you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. 

Tip #3: Use The Numbers 

Now that you've made some guesses, maybe you’ve asked for some support from friends, peers or your manager. 

It’s time for action. 

For example, you might re-launch your script with some tweaks to your ‘Opener’ and ‘Reason for the Call’. 

Now it’s time to keep on top of your numbers. 

  • Did the conversion improve? 

  • Did more prospects get through my opening line to the next part of the call? 

Regardless of whether you fail again or win - remember that every step you take — right or wrong — gives you valuable data that can help you get closer to success. 

After all; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Federer didn’t become the Tennis GOAT in one season. Messi didn’t win the World Cup the first time he played in it. 

Final tip - give your tests enough time to produce enough meaningful data. In other words, don’t jump to conclusions after one day or one conversation. 

Be patient. Mastery take time. 

And that’s exactly where most sellers give-up. They give up at being patient. They go back to diving in. Not learning and then wonder why they aren’t masters in 12 months time. 

Trust the process and most of all, trust yourself. 

You’re the CEO 

Being a seller is a wild experience that comes with unique challenges. 

But remember this. When you hit a wall, when it feels helpless and that you’ll never succeed - it's not the end of the world. 

Micro failures are just small signals telling you there are other directions to explore. 

Just because you haven’t arrived at your destination yet, doesn’t mean you never will. 

I hope these little tips will help you navigate your downs and in doing so, achieve more ups further in your journey. 

Because remember, whatever your job title now, you’ll always be the CEO of your own career. Start owning it today. 

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.