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What Salespeople Can Learn from Sandcastles

Sand_Castle_Stock_by_TheshelfsWhen deals don’t go your way, dust yourself off and go in search of the next one.

Remember the sandcastles you built as a child? When you were just getting started, you used wet sand and buckets. But as you got better at building them, they became larger and more complicated. It wasn’t long before you were using anything you could find to make your castles better than ever—straws, shells, stones, feathers from the seagulls.

Castle-building was not a solo project. Adults lent a hand when you were really little, and as you grew up, other kids on the beach came to help. You concentrated so hard that you never realized how hot the sun was or how soon the tide would come in.

When the tide did come in—right on schedule—you clapped with delight as the waves gradually captured your sandcastles and took them back into the ocean. You didn’t think of that effort as wasted time. You were just eager to come back again tomorrow and build something even more amazing, using all the new tricks you’d learned.

We can’t depend on a regular schedule of tides in our work lives. And no one enjoys seeing carefully constructed business deals ebb away before their very eyes. But it happens to all of us sometimes.

Kids Know Best

Life doesn’t always go our way, and neither does business. But unlike kids playing in the sand, we often take it to heart when the companies, deals, or client relationships we’ve invested in fall apart.

Robert Terson brings this home in his post, “Two Castle Builders—Author Unknown.” He sets up the story of two architects—a child constructing a sandcastle and an adult building his business. Then he beautifully sums up the way both builders react when life reclaims their castles:

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.

“It’s my castle,” he defies.

The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs…

I don’t know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take—applaud. Salute the process of life and go home. (Read the rest of the article.)

The Lesson for Sales

Sometimes you’ll win deals, and sometimes you’ll lose them—even when you’ve invested everything you have into closing them. But you have a choice about you react. What if you thought of lost deals like sandcastles? Instead of taking the loss to heart, think about what the experience has taught you, dust the sand off your britches, and go home happy. That way, when you come back to work the next day, you’ll be prepared to build another deal—even bigger and better than the one you lost.

You’ll also learn to pay more attention to how you build your deals, who you include, and the steps you take to move your deals along—so they won’t wash away next time.

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One Response to What Salespeople Can Learn from Sandcastles

  1. Always always always move on with it! If you’ve lost a lead it’s gone, and not worth getting worked up over. Nothing you can do will change that, so learn from your mistakes.

    A good technique is asking the prospect for feedback on what put them off. It could be that there were factors out of your control that was the reason they rejected you, or they could have some positive feedback that will help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

    Take lessons from it, adapt you approach accordingly, and move onto the next prospect. Great advice!

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