There is nothing more heart breaking in professional sales than losing the deal at the end of a long sales process, after you've invested so much time, effort, expense‚ even travel! When the lost sale occurs, we should be careful not to let our anger and frustration get the best of us, and instead, shift our focus to a new goal: keep the door open for future sales opportunity. Consider these tips when you lose the deal:
- Stay positive! Negativity will create the biggest barrier to future sales opportunities with the company that got away. Do not allow negativity, in any form, to surface toward the prospect or your competitor. When you get word that you've lost the deal, strive for a disposition of "cheerfully disappointed."
- Never indicate that you feel the customer is making a mistake or that the provider they selected is a poor choice. Doing so shows a lack of maturity and class. It also creates a scenario in which, if the customer were to come back to you, they would feel like they were eating crow or might hear an "I told you so" from you (i.e., barrier to future business).
- No guilt trips. It is one thing to let a customer know you are disappointed at losing an opportunity; it is quite another to make them feel responsible for your poor quarterly performance or any negative impact of not getting the business. Nobody likes a martyr. And customers rarely do business with people they don't like.
- Always ask for feedback about why the other provider was selected, and then listen Do NOT challenge the customer's choice in provider or their logic behind it! Use this practice to demonstrate your commitment to excellence, and gather valuable insights to boost your future sales success.
- Continue to invest in the relationship. Communicate to "lost" customers how much you enjoyed working with and getting to know them through the sales process. Share reasons why you like them or believe they will be successful moving forward. Candidly state your desire to keep the lines of communication open and for another opportunity to work with them in the future.
Losing out on a big sale is a deflating experience. If we focus on removing barriers for future business and cultivating a positive position with the customer, the loss may very well be temporary.