Losing an opportunity is a form of negative feedback. Missing your number is a form of negative feedback too. Sometimes your performance review might include a component of negative feedback.

No one likes negative feedback. I don’t like it, and you don’t like it. But negative feedback is a necessary component of improving your performance. The negative feedback you receive from any number of sources is an opportunity to learn from what you’re doing, an opportunity to make adjustments to what you’re doing in the future, and to produce better results.

The Fast Track to Improvement

As difficult as it might seem, embracing negative feedback as a learning opportunity is the fast track to improving your performance. As long as you’re emotionally intelligent enough to accept that feedback, to learn from it, and to make the necessary adjustments.

When you lose an opportunity, it hurts. You want to believe it wasn’t your fault. You want to believe that it was the client who was at fault for not understanding the value you create. We want to believe that it’s your competitors that did something unfair by cutting their pricing. But when you lose, it’s another salesperson that wins that opportunity. Without accepting responsibility for the loss you can’t get better.

A lost opportunity is a form of negative feedback. There’s a lesson in there for you somewhere.

Missing You Number, Gaining an Education

Missing your number is another form of negative feedback. If what you’re presently doing isn’t going to produce the number, then you need to make the changes that will allow you to perform better and produce better results.

Missing your number is another form of negative feedback. There is a lesson to be learned from missing your number, but you have to be willing to capture that lesson and you have to be willing to change.

Now you know what doesn’t work. What do you need to change?

Your Performance Review

There’s a reason of the top performers and any human endeavor have coaches. They can’t see their own swing. Your performance review may be based on numbers, but some component is going to be your sales managers opinion of what the obstacles to better performance are for you.

As difficult as it is to accept negative feedback, an open heart and an open mind will give you the opportunity to look at what you’re doing through someone else’s eyes. It takes courage to acknowledge that your performance isn’t what it should be. It takes emotional intelligence to accept criticism from someone else. But negative feedback on your performance, whether it comes quarterly, annually, or even informally, can help you identify the changes you need to make in order to perform better.

Negative feedback, as painful as it may be, is a learning opportunity. The more you open you are to the message it’s teaching you, the faster you will improve your performance.


What negative feedback have you received recently?

What lesson did you derive from the negative feedback?

What did you learn from the last opportunity you lost?

What was your take away from missing your number the last time you missed it?

How do you learn to accept a negative feedback without being reflexively defensive?

Sales, 2012
Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
December 26, 2012
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