Memories of being sat in a cold boardroom, explaining to my Sales Director why we’d lost the deal still haunt me to this day. It was always the price, or delivery, or simply that we didn’t have the right product right now. Never, of course, anything to do with the sales guy!
Even worse, sitting in the same boardroom, explaining why a major account had gone elsewhere.
Words of wisdom
I was lucky. My Director at the time knew a thing or two. ” You didn’t lose the deal”, he explained..” you were outsold. It had nothing to do with anything else that you’ve just said. If it was a price issue, find out what the price break is. What was the value add?”
Patiently, we worked through the deals we were losing ( We won a lot as well!), and worked out a competitive strategy. Flexibility was the key.
One large client bought several crates of nuts and bolts off us each month. About to lose the client, we asked what we could do to keep the account. “Smaller boxes…that would save us having to break the crates down when they arrive and would save money”. We duly sorted out the smaller boxes, put the prices up and kept the account.
The point is this.
You are in control of the sale, not the competition. If you’re not learning, not asking questions, you’ll never get to a point of being able to add benefit to the client…which is why they’ll buy off you. If you’re not learning, not asking questions, you’ll get outsold.
There’s a great book out there..”Hope is Not a Strategy” by Rick Page. ( I have a dog eared copy, Rick, that needs replacing!). If you read no other sales book, read that. And every time you use the word “Hope” when talking about a deal, stop and ask why.
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