Sales Training Tip: How to Handle Criticism

We salespeople love to hear kudos.  But what happens when someone tells us that we're not so great?  What happens when someone criticizes us? I can tell you from experience, that it does not feel good. 

I recently made a phone call to a very experienced sales expert. I used what I thought was my “A” material, however this person ripped apart my sales effort. This person did not see the effort I put in nor did they care that I am a genuinely nice guy. They perceived that I was wasting their time, and nothing I else I said mattered after that.

Dealing with Criticism is Never Easy

Great salespeople must learn how to handle criticism with emotional intelligence and have the ability to separate feelings from facts. All Sales trainers should train this and sales managers should manage this. I would love to say, that every critic is looking out for your best interest, but the fact is, that some people can be just downright mean. There are certain people who really love to tear other people apart. For many of us, the first reaction is to tell the critic to stick their criticism where the sun doesn't shine while others opt to crawl into a shell of shame, desperately seeking the courage to go on. So what should we do? 

Be Grateful and take it Seriously

The way to deal with criticism, regardless of intent, is to embrace the criticism as a way to get better. Who cares what someone's intentions are, it really doesn't matter! What does matter is that there's a possibility that they are seeing something that you don't. I say, embrace criticism and look for golden threads of truth that can help you improve your game. When someone takes the time to criticize you, thank them for their observation, make a serious note of it and take some time to do some soul-searching. 

I have often wondered while watching shows like American Idol, how people can seemingly have no idea that they really stink.  If you really care about someone, you must feel compelled to tell the truth, even if it hurts. You are not doing anyone any favors by not confronting the brutal facts.

My Approach

I am very grateful for the criticism that was given to me.  I needed to be reminded that I need to keep my game at a high level at all times. Most importantly I needed to be reminded that, the things I do matter and I only have one chance to make a good first impression. So there you have it, a word to the wise - embrace criticism and learn from it; strive to self evaluate and not compromise on standards so that rather than distracting your prospect with bad habits, you can use every encounter as a means to an end of reaching your goal.

Please check back at this blog for some tips on how to deliver suggestions for improvement.

 

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