6 Essential Strategies To Follow When You Lose A Sale

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

losing salesI had the privilege a few years ago of coaching one of the best salespeople I had ever worked with. He wasn’t particularly gifted; he just did so many things absolutely right and proved that the only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.

We discussed many topics, especially relating to what kept him so motivated and on top of his game. One thing he said that intrigued me was the fact that he didn’t expect to get every sale. He realised that not every business out there had a need for his services.

But he also realised that if he didn’t get a sale, he needed a strategy to deal with that situation. I’m aware that sales can be lost for a variety of reasons, though it should not be because of poor sales skills, poor product quality or poor back-up.

Despite his great results and obvious love for the job, he did lose many sales. His intriguing comparison was that of Babe Ruth. Thought of as one of American baseball’s greatest ever players, his batting average was only 0.342.

That is, he only succeeded a third of the time. Yes, the greatest exponent of the game only hit out on one-in-three occasions.

This salesperson kept that in mind every time he didn’t succeed. Instead, he recognised that if he didn’t get a sale, he needed a strategy to deal with it. I wrote notes during our discussions and this is the essence of what we said a great salesperson has to do when they don’t achieve a final sale:

  • Always, always follow up with a personalised thank you note or letter, thanking them for their time. This allows you to make an impression even though they have decided against your solution.
  • Ask them for a quick evaluation of your product, your service and your sales approach. You absolutely must find out what you lost the deal on, so you can identify how to change in the future.
  • Keep the prospect on your list, keeping them up to date with the changes in their industry, putting them on your newsletter list or your LinkedIn article list.
  • Decide exactly what your competitor did to get the business. You may not have been able to have matched their price, but in retrospect, could you have highlighted something else that would have made a difference?
  • Accept that industries, people, companies, products and competitors change, so realise that their not buying now doesn’t mean they never will in the future.
  • Don’t let a no-sale affect your attitude toward the next sale. If Babe Ruth had ‘failed’ twice in a row, he knew that his next ‘success’ was just around the corner. That would have kept him positive and always looking forward.

By keeping to this strategy, this salesman knew his figures and recognised what he had to change in order to ‘win’ the next sale. This attitude kept him at the top of his game and ensured he succeeded where others may have fallen.

It was great to work with someone who had such an outlook and it proves that, no matter what results you achieve, you never fail if you learn something that will help you change in the future.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 5 May, 2015

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