Life seems about coming to an end for many of us in the marketing department of the company I work for. Efforts towards the purchase of a large consignment of our product, aimed at the legislative arm of a Nigerian government (with a positive outcome that would have earned some of us ‘all expenses paid’ trips abroad), have come to naught. We all feel devastated as a result, hence this request for a respite from you on how to make the best out of such lost sale – Buba Y.
The last of those signs you should watch out for as ‘red flags’ indicative of the deal not turning out favourably, and requires counter measures from you, has bearing on your price being quite high. With a high price, the prospect would likely be inclined to object to your offering. This is due to the well known impression that what you offer could be found for less or maybe you are trying to ‘play a fast one’ – Selling more than required. If you perceive the competitor’s offering is more favourable to the prospect, try to emphasize willingness to offer added value to yours as a counter measure. Generally, whenever unfavourable signs show up, your best bet is instant creativity (on your part) to diffuse any unpalatable outcome.
What to do
Note that any “no deal” expression from the prospect does not portend a complete termination of all future efforts at obtaining patronage from the same source. Endeavour not to fall into the folly of foreclosing forever remembering all about the prospect and your attempts at ‘clinching’ the deal. This will amount to sealing your fate completely before this same prospect by way of blocking future attempts at the same prospect. The following will also help:
– Never criticize the company that won the business. By talking unfavourably about this winning competitor, you are indirectly criticizing the prospect’s recent decision.
-Position yourself in a way that make for easy access to any opportunity aimed at building a relationship and winning this prospect’s business in future. Your company can provide a favourable option.
-Periodically keep a tab on this prospect, and occasionally show you are still interested in their business (e.g. letting them know how you are assisting your other happy customers; offering solutions to any problems this prospect may inform you about; somehow, keep building relationship).
In the same vein, consider what to do in such a situation in the light of these: –
– Keep in touch with some of the lower grade people you encountered at your prospect’s.
These may turn out to be the bosses of tomorrow, and will certainly remember you due to your continuously remaining in touch.
-Where the opportunity comes up, invite this prospect to your company’s events and parties. Treat them just like a customer, for sooner or later, they will be. Give them a nice time at such events that they will start visualizing how nicely you would treat them if you really had their business.
-Be persistent in this positive attitude, and be rest assured. You’ll discover that this prospect will sign you on, shortly.
-Do not denigrate a competitor, as this will surely reflect poorly on you. This portrays you as a very bad loser, and also gives an unfavourable impression of subtly insulting the prospect’s judgment. This is more so if your competitor offered something better.
How to recover
The quickest way of recovering from a lost sale is through the realisation that it is inevitable for even the most promising transactions to fall through despite impressive efforts of salespersons. One of the things that separate the top professionals from the lesser ones is how they deal with these failed efforts. Part of your quick recovery is to leverage the lost sale as a learning and business-building experience, and not to feel dejected from losing out on all those potential benefits that would have come your way. In a nutshell, bear in mind that it is best to learn from lost sale, as a sort of fortification for future attempts.
Another recommendation suitable to surmount the ‘downs’ you conveyed by the reference to life looking like coming to an end for many of you in the company, is to call for a thorough group evaluation (involving the entire marketing team and top management) 0n every step involved in the process of prospecting for the lost deal. With this, you will discover that somewhere along the line the ‘problem spot’ will clearly manifest. A company that allows the opportunity of such an exercise to pass it by does so at its peril, as negative effects of low morale will gain grounds.
What remains to be learnt from lost sale is hinged on a complete ‘soul searching’ which entails going over the entire selling process (right from the beginning) to identify whatever lessons to be learnt. There will be no harm in humbling oneself, in this learning process, by putting a call to your prospect requesting that they share with you the reason(s) for not earning their business at this attempt. Also request from any other person, who should know (e.g. an old timer) for opinion and suggestions to facilitate improved performance next time. Never imbibe a defeatist attitude of viewing any loss of selling efforts (no matter the prospective benefits to the company) as end of life.