Sales is a competitive and result-oriented profession.
If you want to succeed in it, you need to be a hustler, ready to work hard every day.
Believing in what you’re selling is another crucial factor that determines your success.
Being an excellent listener, invested in helping your prospects solve their issues is one more trait of a great salesperson.
But, even if you always walk that extra mile, sometimes you’ll hear that dreaded “No” and lose a deal.
Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or learn.” In other words, you shouldn’t despair when a long-nurtured deal falls through – view it as an opportunity to learn new tricks and raise your sales game.
Pep talk and exclaiming, “Go get ‘em next time!” is a good strategy for lifting your spirits, but it won’t get you very far unless you have dissected your previous failures and identified what went wrong.
Here are the most important lessons to learn from a sale that failed to materialize.
1. Don’t Give Up on Your Lost Sales Deals Easily
While it’s true that you should know when to call it quits, in some situations, sales deals aren’t lost because you did something wrong.
If your leads are a good fit, but the timing isn’t right, you shouldn’t give up on them so easily. The odds are that they will say yes when their situation changes – when they have a bigger budget or when you add a feature that’s important for them.
What you should do is reach out after a couple of weeks or months and see whether their circumstances are different. For this approach to work, you need to develop an organized follow-up system and keep detailed information about your prospects.
Using a sales email automation tool, you can even prepare a follow-up sequence in advance and schedule it so that you don’t have to worry whether you’ll forget to check in.
So, don’t wave the white flag and write off the leads that have the potential to turn into paying customers before you give them another chance.
2. Identify the Prospects That Aren’t the Right Fit
Salespeople waste way too much time on the prospects that aren’t the right fit. No wonder this is so if we bear in mind that according to stats, we’re talking about 50% of your prospects.
That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to recognize such tire kickers before you invest a lot of time and energy into trying to convert them. The truth is that they will never purchase from you, and even if they ultimately do, the fact that your product isn’t the right fit for them will make your relationship go sour.
And that means a bad customer experience and potentially negative reviews.
Long story short, you don’t need such prospects in your CRM.
But, how to make sure that you don’t waste your time on those who will never buy and save your resources?
First of all, focus your prospecting efforts on finding the right prospects, and you can do that only if you do your research and create an ideal customer profile (ICP). This document contains a description of perfect-fit companies and individuals that could benefit from purchasing your product or service.
After you’ve created your ICP, it will be easier for you to sift through your prospect list and disqualify the ones that don’t fit. Although this will significantly shrink and decimate the size of your CRM, you should be aware that un-fit prospects are only preventing you from focusing on winning deals.
3. Understand That You Can’t Control Everything
No matter how hard you try, you can’t control every factor in the sales process, and that’s something that you should come to terms with. Otherwise, this perceived inability to control some fixed points can be overwhelming and ultimately make you feel bad or incompetent.
For example, you can control how you respond to your prospect’s objections, but what you can’t control how big their budget is.
In a nutshell, don’t fret over the things you can’t change – it’s much more proactive to direct your attention and energy to the aspects of the sales process that you can control.
If we’re talking about budget constraints, you can tweak your pricing model and offer your prospect a lighter and more affordable version of your product or service without some premium features. If this works for them, you will land a customer without actually lowering your price.
4. Analyze Your Pitch After Every Successful and Unsuccessful Sale
This is an essential step in every good analysis.
Pinpointing what went wrong or lead to closing a deal can be a game-changer for your future sales efforts. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by conducting post-sales interviews with your lost and won customers.
It’s critical to understand what made them say yes or no, and you can’t do that by guessing.
Ask your lost sales prospects something along the lines of:
- Why did you opt for our competitor?
- What stopped you from buying our product or service?
- What could have made you change your mind?
Explain that it’s not your intention to change their mind but to improve your customer experience. Listen to their remarks carefully, and don’t try to defend yourself – this conversation should help you learn and understand what’s going on.
In some cases, prospects will be impressed by the fact that you’re so dedicated to your customers that they might even reconsider their decision.
But, don’t limit yourself to analyzing just that particular instance that brought to winning or losing a sale. It’s equally important to review your planning, preparation, and every single conversation you had with your prospect.
This is where the roots of your success or failure lie, and you have to unearth all the factors that impacted your prospect’s decision to purchase or reject your offer.
Obtaining these valuable insights will allow you to handle your potential customers’ objections in the future and overcome them successfully.
Losing a deal is definitely an unpleasant and painful experience. But if you approach it in a constructive manner, you will learn a great deal from every single loss. Think about losing a deal as an opportunity to grow and become a rockstar salesperson.