Psychology of Sales: Detaching Yourself From the Outcome

One of the hardest parts of being a salesperson is that hearing a no from a prospect can feel tough - sometimes even devastating. But it can seem like the top salespeople often just don’t take a no personally. How can you get yourself to do that? I’ve got a few suggestions that might help. 

I learned how to detach myself from the outcome of my pitches almost two decades ago when I was doing door-to-door sales (which was a really impactful opportunity that I talk about a lot - it taught me so much). Here’s what I picked up that has served me well. 

Have Confidence in the Process

One of the biggest things I was able to do in that door-to-door role was getting to the point where I had tremendous confidence in the process they taught us to sell. I simply followed the process I had been trained to do, and was able to detach myself from the outcome. 

I would literally knock on doors and didn’t care whether a prospect bought or not - my job was to follow the process and that’s it. 

If you have a process that you know works because you’ve tested it and seen results, you should have incredible confidence in it. You’ll know that this is my process - I do X, Y, and Z - and I will either win that deal or not. Sure, if I lose I’m gonna want to know why I lost it, but I won’t let it mess with my resolve. This is your job as a salesperson, an early employee at a startup, or a founder.

Maximize Your Effort in the Process

Of course, that confidence in the process only works if you’re also putting the maximum effort into every step of the process. Leave it all on the court every time. Then you know that if you went through all the steps with maximum effort and you didn’t close the deal - that’s ok. 

Sales managers might be wondering at this point - how can you really be ok with this? It’s a mental hurdle to overcome. But you can do everything right and still lose the deal. If you know you worked to the max though, you can walk away with your head held high and find the prospect who will actually buy. 

Be Mentally Prepared 

Getting into this mindset can be challenging - a lot of us got into sales because we love to win. So mentally preparing yourself to detach from the outcome before you go out and sell is necessary. 

Say it out loud - I will follow the process and detach myself from the outcome. Practice doing this and focus on the process, and the rest will follow.  

Have a Strong Pipeline 

Finally, having a strong pipeline in place is vital for many reasons, but it can also help you deal with the no’s better. You’ll get less tied up in the outcome of a single deal because you know you have plenty of other good prospects in the pipeline, and now you can go focus on them. 

A strong pipeline gives you more confidence in your ability to close deals - and that helps you detach from the outcome. 

I was able to sell a lot when I started working like this. And when I didn't sell, because the truth is that we all lose more deals than we close, I didnt let it affect me.

Top salespeople don’t let the no’s bother them - they know they’re a normal, natural, regular occurrence, and getting upset about them simply distracts you from your larger goals.  

This post was inspired by a video I made back in 2014: