Like most young children, when our son was eighteen months old he began having temper tantrums, peaking when he was three and thankfully, now that he is six, he stages them far less frequently. He is very stubborn and once he committed to the tantrum he would never, ever back down. When he was younger, the tantrums wouldn’t end until he fell asleep! Later, when he could begin to understand us, we could finally ask, “Would you like to start over?” Later still, he would finally ask us, “Can we start over?”

Starting over has its benefits. We get from point A to point B much more quickly, we always have a better outcome and we always finish things off with a smile. Lessons are learned, expectations for moving forward are set and behaviors change. Starting over can really be powerful!

So, when sales calls don’t go well, why don’t more salespeople ask if they can start over? What’s the difference between the young child starting over and the salesperson starting over?

Not much.

If your prospect isn’t engaged, if she hasn’t shared any problems that you can solve, if he seems to be distracted, if you are hearing obstacles instead of opportunities; If you are recognizing that you should have asked different questions several minutes ago, that you took a wrong turn or that you didn’t do what you had planned to do; Ask to start over. Try this:

“You know, this meeting isn’t going the way I had hoped. I don’t think you’re getting any value and I don’t want to waste our time. Can I start over?”

You certainly won’t be any worse off than you were before you asked and most prospects will recognize that they weren’t helping things along. If your prospect isn’t interested in starting over you can always stage a temper tantrum.