4 Most Common Ways to Lose a Business Sale and What to Do Instead
Ways to Lose a Business Sale
There are many ways to lose a business sale – all of them painful – especially after you’ve put your heart and soul into winning an important deal.
4 Main Paths to Losing an Important Business Sale
There are four main ways to lose a business sale – and each sales loss can be redirected toward success if you have the will, the resources, and the right solution selling skills.
#1. Your firm cannot be found.
This is perhaps the most basic reason business sales are not won in the first place – the prospect doesn’t even know you exist! What may begin as a branding and marketing problem eventually becomes a sales problem.
How can you even submit a proposal or get a meeting with a target buyer if you have not been invited to participate? You have to make yourself known. Certainly referrals are the easiest and often the best if they come from people your target client’s respect. Every single time you complete a project for a client, ask if they would be willing to refer you to [insert target buyer here].
According to a study of over 1,300 buyers in the professional services marketplace, there’s an almost 70% chance they will. Those are pretty good odds. Becoming good at referrals should be the first step. But then a potential client would likely do some research. Make sure that you and your solutions can be easily found online in a way that aligns with your brand promise and unique value proposition.
#2. Your firm is not well represented on the web.
Surprisingly, many companies have unclear or weak brand promises and value propositions that do not resonate with their target clients. You need to ensure your company’s value is relevant, clear, and compelling. Make it easy for anyone visiting your web site to understand just what you do, how you do it, what makes you special, and how well you are appreciated by former clients.
Most clients will do research on their own before calling you. If your web site is poor, you may never even get a chance to talk. In fact one out of every two decision makers skips over firms that have been referred because they don’t have a persuasive online presence – either they don’t easily understand how you could help them or they were unimpressed by the way the company “looked” online.
Make sure your web site is user friendly and that your message to prospects is well crafted. And be aware that even once you have met the prospect, your web site will be part of their decision making process. An unimpressive, lackluster or confusing web site could lose the business at any juncture of the sales cycle.
#3. Your sales process does not address customer issues in a compelling way.
Too many salespeople think they understand what a prospect wants and quickly throw together a boiler-plate proposal with standard solutions. Top solution sellers distinguish themselves and their company by spending the time and effort required to truly understand what the customer needs to be successful – this is not always what the customer thinks they want.
Review your solution selling training to probe for the real issues and then create a clear and compelling vision for solving their problem in a way that matches their specific business strategy and unique organizational culture. While you should follow a proven sales methodology and process, each proposed solution should be unique to the customer and reflect your sincere effort to help them succeed personally and professionally.
#4. You did not provide real value in your interactions compared to the alternatives.
Clients are looking for persuasive and trustworthy ways to solve their most pressing problems. They want the insights and help from experts who have their best interests at heart and who can add value. Work with your prospective clients to define the real issues; share your ideas on how the issues can be resolved; provide insights every time you interact. This is the way to earn their respect and their business.
The Bottom Line
The majority of sales success and failure is under your control. Have a clear value proposition, define your ideal target clients, have your client’s best interests at heart, do great work, ask for referrals, and ensure that your online presence is up to snuff.
To learn more about lifting sales performance, download 30 Effective Sales Questions More Important than Budget