There will be occasions when the prospect does not go with your solution and chooses either to do nothing or go with a competitor.
Even if you have the best solution available to the client, their buying decision may lie elsewhere, and we often can do nothing about it at that time.
And that’s the key issue here…’at that time’!
It may be that things will change in the future, so what can you do to learn from the experience and lessen the chances of it happening again? What are some questions to ask after losing the sale?
You need a robust process that will gather information, and help you prepare for a similar situation in the future. What the prospect tells you could have a big effect on your future training and development, product presentation, pricing, marketing and competitor analysis.
Instead of just forgetting the prospect and moving on, if you think or feel there may well be future opportunities with them, it’s a good idea to plan a follow-up call to identify key reasons why they made the decision that they did.
Think about what information you require from the prospect. You could contact them by phone, face to face or via email, but you want to be specific and you don’t want to waste too much of their time.
Here are some questions to ask after losing the sale:
What was the decision-making process you went through?
Hopefully, you will have found out the answer to this question during the earlier processes, but it’s a good opportunity for you to find out what the key decision-making process was that your prospect went through
What was it about the competitor’s product that made more sense for your business?
You don’t want to make this sound accusatory, but you do want to ascertain what it was about the competitor that they liked. That way, when you approach this customer again in the future, you have a chance to recalibrate your offering closer to what the prospect was looking for
Did we miss anything in our analysis of your situation?
This question elicits information that will help you in future sales and help you identify components of your sales presentation that may need sprucing up
Was price an issue?
If it was, how many times might you be missing opportunities to build your value with prospects before presenting solutions?
What was it about our competitor’s offer that you liked better?
It might have been something you could do something about in the future. Were their payment terms better? Was speed of response an issue? Or could it be that price was the main issue and you will never be able to price-match? Finding the answer will help you plan for similar situations in the future
What could we do in the future for you to consider us again?
This question gets the prospect to open up on what changes you may have to consider making for them to give you another opportunity. It may be that you don’t have a future chance with this specific prospect, but at least you had the conversation to find out.
These questions help you see why you may have lost the sale on this occasion. However, it doesn’t mean all is lost.
Find out when the product change cycle is due to come around again. If they’re leasing the product, how long is the lease? What would you have to do differently next time to win the sale? How can you keep in touch with them during the next few weeks or months while they are assessing the suitability of the choice they have made?
Remember, when you have the opportunity to contact them again in the future, it is not a cold call, as you have already built up some kind of relationship with them. You can check on the viability of their choice, how happy they are with their service provider, and find any chinks in the armour that you can possibly fix for them in the future.
By learning from every lost sale, you give yourself opportunities to build good client relationships in the future, and that can only be good for business!
Sean McPheat Managing Director The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling