No, sometimes you are going to get this from a customer. Even worse sometimes the deal you have been working on for months will be awarded to another company. To most sellers this is devastating news. No one wants to get rejected, much less lose a deal. But in these situations, there is a golden question that most sellers often forget to ask the customer. “Why did I not get the business”.
During this episode I share why everyone that is selling needs to ask this question when they are not awarded the deal. I also cover how to properly ask the question, how to use the information received to better your business and how new sellers can take advantage of this information to prospect.
Here are some of the major takeaways:
Asking the question
It’s important to ask this question properly with a good attitude. Even though you just lost a potentially great deal, you have to realize that its over and you need to move on. Keep a respectful attitude. I’m not saying you have to throw a congratulatory party, but it’s important to stay professional. Many times new sellers will want to get off the phone as soon as possible or if it’s an in person meeting, they want to leave the business ASAP to avoid an awkward situation. But while you are with the customer, it is important to ask them why you did not get the business.
Understanding that it may be awkward for the customer as well, the best way I have found to naturalize the situation is to remind the buyer of the rules we set before we started about making sure we are a fit (learn more here “set the rules before we play the game”). Sometimes we are not a fit and that is okay. After I set the stage with that, and let them know that I am okay, I ask “now that it’s over, is it okay if I ask what were the deciding factors why “X company” was selected over us”? Typically at this point since it is over and they don’t need to have a guard up, the buyer will tell you everything you need to know. This information will now become gold for your business.
Using the information
Now that you received a wealth of information, it becomes crucial for you to log it in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software). For instance, in the Salesforce software in the opportunity profile, there is a section for sellers to indicate why an opportunity was lost. It becomes vital for you and your business to document well all the reasons. Why? If you are a business owner or someone who makes decision about the business, this will help you understand if there are things your business need to change.
For instant, if the reason why you were not selected was because your product is lacking a key feature, it becomes important for you to know this so you can fix it. More than likely if this buyer saw that reason as an important enough of a reason to select another vendor others may feel the same way. Now, I am not saying to run off and change everything based on the one lost opportunity, but if there’s a trend among the reasons why you are losing deals, it may be important to consider a change.
The final area where lost opportunities may become a gold mine is prospecting. If you are new to sales, new to an industry or company, look into the lost opportunities section of their CRM and learn the reason why your company are losing business to your competitors. Is it something that the sales person did or did not do? Is there a feature or solution that you should stay clear of? Or is there something that can potentially become an issue early in your business development process with a buyer? These notes in the lost opportunity sections can also provide you with a better understanding of who of your ideal customers is and what they want.
Overall, there are many reasons why people my elect not to buy from you and it is critical for you to know those reasons. Don’t look at it as a rejection and that all hope is lost, but learn to ask why you were not selected. Take it as a learning opportunity to enhance your business, product or services. Use it as a means to better prospecting and develop your sales skills. This information is GOLD!
I know this simple principle will help you grow. All and all, I want you to be successful and I want you to go out and DO BIG THINGS!
Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth. Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.