Let’s look at this subject for a minute or two.
I once had a sales manager who told me, “If you’re not losing a deal now and then, you’re NOT IN ENOUGH deals”. Another of my favorites, Mario Andretti, the great race car driver, once said, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”.
If you’re really trying – really pushing – sometimes things won’t go your way. It’s just a fact.
Another fact: If you’re winning every deal you go for, you’re doing something wrong. Your pricing is too low. You’re over-promising and will under-deliver. You’re not thinking big enough. You’re not pitching enough deals. It may or may not be one of these, but something is definitely wrong.
But, good can come out of it!
Here’s how I’ve learned to deal with losing big deals or sales:
- Grieve. “Be with” the disappointment for a little while. Allow yourself this. You might be bummed, or angry, or frustrated – whatever. Just feel it and acknowledge it. But KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF!
- Next, analyze your actions with this client or prospect. Did you miss any details? Did you qualify them? Did you completely understand what he or she wanted? Did you dig deep enough to understand their motivations? Did you present your solution well? Did you allow too much time to elapse during the process? Did you ASK FOR THE ORDER?
- Ask for help. What happened on the client’s end? Are they having second thoughts? Are they going to do something else? Was there another influencer in the deal who affected the outcome? Another decision-maker? Did they buy a competitive product? What did they like about it better than what you offered?
- RESPECTFULLY contact the client and ask them to help you understand why they made the decision they did. Most people like to help others. Explain that you care about your clients, you think your product is great, you thought it was a good fit for them, and that you’re always looking for ways to improve your presentation. Will they help you?
The sequel: SOMETIMES, a “no” doesn’t mean it’s over.
Maybe you uncover an objection you didn’t know existed and you have another solution. Maybe something changed on their end. Maybe they spoke with a competitor who highlighted features YOUR product also has and you can re-open discussions.
Even if, after these actions, you still don’t get the deal, try to come away with TWO great outcomes for yourself:
- You know, that by losing a deal now and then, you’re trying hard, and you’re pitching often. Good job!
- Maybe – just maybe – you will pick up a tidbit or two on how you can do things better next time.
How have YOU dealt with losing a big deal or opportunity? I would love to hear your comments.