No one goes without loss of sales. You will not win all the contracts and you will win some that you don't deserve to win while losing others that you should have won. It can be difficult to know how and why you lost a trade, and without understanding what caused the loss, you can repeat mistakes that will lead to future losses.
Here's how you should think about a lost deal, especially big deals, and a list of actions that will help you improve your approach.
Believe that you caused the loss
Without believing that you have lost the deal because of your actions or failure to act, you cannot improve your results. There is no better place to start to improve your results than by believing that 'it is all your fault'. The first step in improving yourself is believing that you need to improve yourself and that you can improve yourself.
There is nothing more empowering than taking responsibility for your lost opportunities, no matter how painful they are. You will only improve when you start with the belief that you are responsible for the outcome.
Never blame the externalities
Never believe that something or someone has caused you to lose a deal. This belief will weaken you and prevent you from identifying things that you might need to improve. It was not the customer who caused your loss, even if they chose a competitor. It wasn't your competitor's lowest price either.
The worst mistake you can make if you want to improve your results is finding someone to take responsibility for the loss. Own your losses and never look for the external reasons that you have lost.
Identify potential causes
Look back over your meetings, notes, and communications to identify anything that could have contributed to the loss. If you could start over, what would change?
This work is difficult. You need to be honest with yourself and you also need to have a framework to assess your performance. You can start with your selling process, your version of a buyer's journey, or the methodologies you use to guide your approach. You are looking for anything that might reveal anything that might explain where you might have made a different choice.
Doing this job will help you take responsibility for the loss and make adjustments in the future.
Get opinions on the goals
It can be difficult to get an objective view of a lost deal when you are emotionally invested in the opportunity. But even if you can see your loss objectively, you can benefit from asking for another person's perspective, someone who hasn't been emotionally invested in the outcome.
Ask people who knew about the deal to go back on everything you did while suing your prospect and give you an objective view of what could have caused the loss. You don't have to come to terms with what they share with you, but you do need to explore their perspective to determine if it is worthwhile to take a more in-depth look at what it is. They shared with you.
Ask your potential client where you could improve
Your potential customers are unlikely to tell you how or why you lost their business. One of the reasons they tell you it was a close competition is that they don't want conflict around a decision they've already made. One of the reasons they tell you you lost on the prize is because it's easier than telling you they didn't want to work with you, which keeps them from insulting you, while preventing you to improve yourself.
It’s not easy to get good feedback from your contacts about what you could have done differently. They also don't have a solid understanding of professional selling, which limits their ability to describe things in terms we use to discuss sales effectiveness.
If you're going to ask your client for feedback, ask directly what part of your approach you need to improve. Ask them not to spare your feelings.
Explore areas for improvement
When you have an idea of what you've been able to do and what you may need to do to improve your ability to win future business, get down to business. There is no end of content available to cover every part of the sales conversation, including this blog and the accompanying YouTube channel. There are also affordable books, courses, and training that help you improve your skills and effectiveness.
Once you have an idea of the areas where you might need to improve your approach, start exploring how you might improve your results in those areas. You will improve faster if you work on improving a particular area over time.
Have someone monitor your business calls
To improve your sales efficiency, have your manager or a successful salesperson join you on sales calls to observe your step. Allowing someone else to pay attention to how you approach a conversation can shed light on areas where your approach can be improved.
Someone watching you sell with the intention of helping you see your blind spots can do wonders for your future bottom line. Take their comments seriously and explore their reviews without defending the choices you made on the sales call.
Ask to watch a very effective salesperson sell
One of the fastest ways to improve your sales skills is to model an already very successful salesperson and learn to emulate their language and approach. The best salespeople have discovered the language to get the results they need to win business. The shortest and fastest way to acquire this language is to steal it from someone who has already acquired it.
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