Frequently, we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. Not that it is the most pleasant way to learn, but many sales are made in spite of sales errors and thus, are doomed to repetition.
Once you move past the pain of defeat, the learning can begin – if you are open to it. You must cultivate the ability to look at the process from lead to rejection as objectively and unemotionally as you can. Question EVERYTHING!
- Was the lead source viable, was it delivering valid leads?
- Did you qualify it completely, accurately?
- Were you fully prepared for the initial approach?
- Did you ask enough questions, the right questions?
- Did you LISTEN to the answers?
- Did you adjust your strategy, as necessary, based on what you heard?
- Did you re-qualify that you were working with the REAL decision maker, and was it a fully qualified lead – were your solutiuons appropriate, within their budget?
- Did you add the value of YOU?
- Did you close for agreement on the needs and parameters for a solution?
- Did you explain CLEARLY, CONCISELY, ACCURATELY the features whose benefits address the agreed upon needs and were they within the parameters?
- Did you close for agreement after EACH feature/benefit?
- Did you trial close/invite questions or objections?
- Did you answer the questions/objections unemotionally with facts, then restate and re-close on their benefits?
Now, after all that if you still lost the sale, are you sure the prospect wasn’t fishing, or playing you off against their current vendor? Are you sure the prospect was completely forthcoming in their answers? Perhaps there was something you didn’t know that was a hidden objection you could not answer?
You must answer these questions with as much objectivity as you can if you really want to get all the learning you can out of this lost sale. (Yes, there CAN be some benefit here, even if there’s no commission.) This benefit can last a lot longer than a commission check, too.
Before you blow this off (“Hey, I KNOW what I am doing and I did everything right, but that buyer is just a putz!) listen to postgame interviews with the losing players.
- “I didn’t have my A game today.”
- “We did not make the adjustments we needed to.”
- “We didn’t execute very well.”
- “My slider just wasn’t breaking.”
What do these have in common? They take OWNERSHIP of the failure, ANALYZE it objectively and go out and PRACTICE what they learn. Do this as a salesperson, over and over after lost sales, and you could…go…all… the… way.
but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.