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Let ‘the one that got away’ go away

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Losing flat out stinks. Whether you’re playing cards, chasing a beautiful woman or trying to close a business deal, being rejected is disappointing, frustrating and maddening all at the same time.

If you’re even half a fighter, you’re natural reaction is to dig in your heels and fight back, fight to win. And that’s a good thing. If you believe in something, you should fight for it. If you want to win, you’re going to have to learn how to face rejection and come back swinging.

But you’ve got to be smart about the battles you pick and the deals you chase.

Almost every senior sales executive has an epic “big fish tale” about how they achieved success against overwhelming odds. And sometimes, it’s downright awesome. But the rest of the time, it’s just plain stupid. It indicates bad decision making and counterproductive thinking.

The truth about “problem” prospects is that they exact a massive amount of time, money and emotional energy from you. Instead of landing a dozen smaller clients quickly, you spend all your time and attention on one problem prospect. It’s downright risky. If your prospect decides to walk away, you’re left with a gaping revenue hole. Sometimes it’s just smart to let the one that got away, go away—while you get back to work.

That means you probably won’t be the one standing around the coffeemaker telling stories about the “impossible deal” that you finally closed, but you’ll achieve realistic revenue growth month after month, quarter after quarter.

Be bold. Swing for the fences. Don’t back down from problem prospects. Just don’t be naive.

Know what you’re in for. Know what you’re risking. And when it makes sense to do so, just let them go.

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Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker and author. He is author of the soon-to-be-released Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success. For more information, go to