Thursday, January 12, 2023

How To Lose A Sale

How to Lose a Sale

Anyone selling today using the methods they learned ten years ago is going to have problems. Covid changed everything. The pandemic changed the way people feel about work, time and personal worth. Call it what ever you want: the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting. Buyers, who may hold positions of power or the executive suite, place a high value on their time and they aren’t very tolerant of people who waste it.

It can take dozens of attempts to secure a meeting with a prospective customer. Before covid it took 27 touches to make a connection with an unknow person. Now? You can double that. And when you do connect be ready to hit the ground running! There are NO second chances!

When you’re finally in the room with a decision-maker, don’t make mistakes that will cause them to end the meeting or deflect any attempts at following up. Follow-up is the key. Remember the rule of 27 even if it is now 54 or more.

When we talked to buyers

Buyers, no matter if the person your facing as a future customer is a professional buyers or a manager or owner. the majority of them told us in follow-up interviews that the salespeople visiting their offices were doing it all wrong. Conversations were unfocused (or focused on the wrong topics). The salesperson did not have a plan of action which they wanted to present to the customer. The prospects had a hard time understanding why they should do business with the salesperson calling them.

Sales people are selling all wrong in preparation, presentation, and follow-up, and worse yet they did not do their homework!


Mistake #1 - Failing to take time to learn about the company and individuals with whom you will meet. The prospect has probably done research on your company before you set foot in their office. Think about this a minute, doesn’t this mean you need to do the same. Are you the professional here or what? Just wing it when you get there, you will be fine. . .  NOT!

Mistake #2 - Forgetting about preparing thoughtful questions or anticipating objections. If you think you need to ask only one question after you make your pitch - “Well, what do you think?” Be ready to whip out your price sheet in case they say, “I’m ready to buy. How much does it cost?” or my favorite from days gone buy: "Press hard 3rd copy is yours", guess again. You need to know your prospect and his industry as well as they know themselves. Online, trade magazines, industry trade shows it is all out there for you.

Preparing for the meeting includes identifying the prospect’s likely objectives. Why did they agree to meet with you? (Hint: It’s not getting the lowest price. If it is, you’re probably talking to the wrong person). You’ll also want to identify your desired outcome. Send a pre-meeting agenda and stick to it. If you or the prospect has a time restraint keep to the time allotted. If you are invited to stay longer make sure you can use it wisely and not blow your entire presentation.


Mistake #1 - Start the meeting by talking about your products and services. This is always the most fun (for you) The prospect may not have a need for half the things you mention, but they probably won’t say anything, so just keep going to show them you really know your stuff. 

Mistake #2 - Ignore what the prospect is saying. Their objectives and business challenges are just distracting. Keep focusing on why you’re there—getting the order no matter what!

Steer conversations away from specifications, it is not time for that. What you want to discuss are the prospects business goals, such as customer acquisition, retention, conversion rates, upselling, lifetime customer value, regulatory compliance, and customer experience. By aligning your services with their business goals allows the prospect to move forward with finalizing decisions with you still in the hunt and not road kill.


Mistake #1 - Leaving follow-up to administrative people back at the office. Your job is selling, not nurturing. Besides you have more prospects to go see! 

Mistake #2 - Ignoring the prospect’s buying process. It’s your sales process that’s most important. If customers insist on extra steps, it just slows everything down. You have a time line and that is the way it should be.

Everyone sends a thank you email after the sales meeting, in this age of electronic communication if you really want this account you might just want to send a real thank you card though the mail. Almost no one does this anymore so think about how you will stand out from the crowd! Going back to our interviews, the prospects we talked with said they were disappointed if post-meeting communications didn’t include guidance about the next step. You are the professional right? So what would you suggest them do if they use your company? Follow-up notes are a great way to show you were paying attention and you have ideas about helping solve their problems. I never hand anyone tell me NO don't take notes on our meeting. You might even do a little research on what you think is the best solution for there situation. Include some relevant content, or a research report or case study, that is helpful towards your solution and help them as they progress through their (not your) decision-making procedure.

We learned from the people on the other side of the desk that salespeople had plenty of room to improve the way they approached a business about buying their products and services. These concepts are even more important today, given the experience of the last couple of years.

So Why Use A Lead Generation Service Like Larson & Associates?

Mistake #1 - They said no last time so they will say no again. Things change, situations change, needs change. It is not our place to think that hard. Really. If they are in your power niche, your geographical territory we make the call! 

Mistake #2 - Overselling! Yes you do a data dump on them. We don't do that. Tell them who we are what we do and ask if they need to meet with us. Qualifying a prospect isn’t about what they can do for you; it’s what you can do for them and if your services or products fill a need they have. We don't think hard about it, there is only one question to ask "When do you want to meet."

Mistake #3 - Features and benefits! A prospect will not be impressed by a laundry list of generic features, benefits and capabilities. Instead, the discussion must focus in how we will elevate the prospect's business. Because we are using niche selling we already know and understand their challenges and pain. Armed with this knowledge we can empathize and offer solid industry specific pointed solutions that will grab the attention of a busy entrepreneur or executive. 

Mistake #4 - Building the relationship. Sorry Charlie but I am not here to be your best friend. I mean trying to develop a friendship and not asking any probing questions if it gets that far is not what lead generation is all about. You have to immediately look for ways to be significant to them and build value, and ask for the order or appointment.

What we do is bring you QUALIFIED leads, not just names! Some of our competition thinks that handing over a name with a job title which fits a job discription is a lead. Is it? At Larson & Associates we take the pain of cold calling and new account acquisition out of your sales equation and bring you actual sales leads with real names from real companies with real people. If I could really bring your company QUALIFIED leads at a fraction of cost of what it would cost to generate in-house would you be interested? Larson & Associates, is a performance-based sales support company exclusively designed to meet your business needs as we become a professional sales team trained in your products/services to engaged ourselves to generate new business for you, for a mutually agreed upon success-based payment plan. We work to keep your sales pipeline filled with qualified leads. We train our staff to your companies needs and target market so you reap the rewards of our efforts. 

Larson & Associates

We make good businesses great and great businesses even better.

Larson & Associates

3475 Steeplechase Way    Suite 101
Grayslake IL 60030

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