When you’ve put weeks or months of work into a deal, it can be soul-crushing to see it fall through. And of course, the more digits in the commission, the more crushing the disappointment.
But losing a deal is an inevitable part of any sales job. While we can’t always prevent it, we can adjust our attitudes and learn from the experience.
First, evaluate your actionsThe first thing you should do when you realize a deal is dead is evaluate your role in it. Ask yourself these questions to take stock of what happened.
- Were you as accommodating to your client as you could be?
- Were you as responsive to all other parties as you could be?
- Were you confident in your listing and marketing strategies?
- Were you realistic in your negotiations?
- Did you have an open, honest relationship with your client?
- Were you and your client on the same page about his or her goals?
- Did you assemble the right team?
If you can walk away from those questions feeling you did all you could, then breathe easy. Deals fall apart for a variety of reasons that are often out of the broker’s control. Still, it’s important to pause and reflect on your actions to see if you should correct any mistakes.
Make sure to follow up with your clientWhile you’ll need to move on in pursuit of other business to make up for lost time, make sure to tie up loose ends and set yourself up for success in the future. Deals often fail because of some glitch in timing, contract negotiations or financing, but you need to keep the relationship strong.
This may also be a good time to put your database or rolodex to work. Depending on your client’s particular needs and the pitfalls of this failed transaction, you may be able to use a few of your professional contacts to iron out any kinks on their side of the deal. A trusted lender, financial advisor, lawyer or even bank contact can go a long way to helping your client—whether as a last ditch effort to save the deal or as an investment in the long-term relationship.
Communicate clearly with any other parties involvedSometimes the problem lies not with you or your client, but with the other side of the deal. While you have little control over other parties, there are still strategies you can employ to lower the chance of this happening in the future.
Not surprisingly, the key is communication. If there’s another broker involved, reach out in a professional, friendly and non-confrontational way. Ask them if there was anything you could have done to further facilitate the transaction. Be sure they’re aware of the resources and assistance you and your firm are able to provide in the future.
Salvaging a relationship with the other party may not revive this particular deal, but an act of goodwill and a “we’ll get’ em next time” pat on the shoulder can go a long way when that next time arises.
Treat a failed deal as an opportunity for growth
It’s no fun to lose a commission you thought was in the bag. You should have a clear and concise answer if any higher-ups ask you what happened, but you can also seek mentorship or counsel from those higher-ups. Have they been in a similar situation, and if so, how did they handle it? What have they learned from failed deals? Having a mentor can help you learn from the experience and pinpoint what went wrong. (And remember, you should try to pass along your knowledge as well).