It Matters How You Lose
When you lose, you may be remembered for the loss.
You are going to win and lose deals. You are not going to go undefeated in sales. No one does, no matter how good they are. But how and why you lose matters.
If you lost because you were unprepared, knew nothing about the client’s business, had no point of view about what’s changed in their world and what they should be doing about it, when another opportunity arises, you may be precluded because you are not considered a value creator. If you lost after establishing yourself as a consultative, trusted advisor type, you increase your chances of winning the next competition.
Losing because you had a poor bedside manner, did not listen to your dream client, did not pay attention to what they wanted, and having made them feel as if you were more concerned about what you wanted, means it will be difficult for your prospective client to want to see you again when their needs change. Being other-oriented and engaged gives you a better chance of getting another conversation in the future.
Being passed over for the opportunity to serve your dream client because your solution wasn’t right can mean that you weren’t paying attention to what they needed in order to choose you, or because you tried to jam your solution in without making it fit the client’s needs (i.e. the Commitment to Collaborate and the Commitment to Review from The Lost Art of Closing). If you missed capturing their vision and weaving it together into “our solution,” you may have made a second try in the future more difficult by projecting that you are unable to tailor what you do to fit the client’s needs. You want to be remembered for your consultative, collaborative approach.
If you lose, you want to be remembered in such a way that causes the clients to say, “We should have gone with them. I liked them the most the entire time. We made a mistake.”
Second place is different than “also-ran.” Don’t lose because you did a poor job selling.
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