Nothing compares to a good case study for diagnosing mistakes and missed opportunities, as well as reinforcing the core principles of effective selling that we all know, but may lose sight of from time to time. Such is the case with Peter Bregman’s recent HBR article, How Not to Lose a Sale, in which Bregman recounts a decidedly unsuccessful sales call. Mr. Bregman hasn’t had the benefit of attending a DPS sales training workshop, so he doesn’t know terms like “Exploratory Process,” “Odds Are” or “LAER,” but these are precisely the concepts that were missing from his sales effort on this particular day…
How Not to Lose a Sale
by Peter Bregman | HBR Blog Network | March 4, 2013
Robyn*, a close friend of mine and senior leader at a large pharmaceutical company, referred me to referred me to work with Dan, the CEO of one of her company’s subsidiaries and someone she knew well. She would arrange for the three of us to meet. The lead wasn’t just warm; it was hot.
During the sales process I made a series of decisions, all of which felt — in fact, still feel — eminently reasonable. Here’s what happened:
- With Dan’s permission, Robyn and I met several times before the meeting to discuss Dan and his situation. Dan was new to his role as CEO and needed to step up in tricky circumstances. By the time I met with him, I understood his challenges and it was clear that they fit squarely in my sweet spot as an advisor.
- The day of the meeting, Robyn and Dan were running behind schedule. We had planned for 60 minutes but now only had 20. “No problem,” I told them, “I’ve been briefed about the situation, so we can cut to the chase.”
- I sat down in an empty office chair which happened to be uncomfortably low to the ground and I instinctively raised the seat to the level at which I normally sit.
- Dan started the conversation with a compliment about my latest book and told me how much he enjoyed my blog posts, which reinforced my decision to “cut to the chase.”
- I explained briefly what I knew about his situation and when he acknowledged that I understood it, I launched into how I would approach it.
- At one point, Dan asked me a question and I hesitated before answering. Robyn suggested that we discuss it later but I didn’t want to disappoint so I thanked her but said I’d be happy to share my thoughts and I did.
Nothing I did or said or thought or felt was dramatically off base. In fact, each step — each choice I made — was practical, sensible, and appropriate from my perspective. Read the rest of the article here