How to Lose a Prospect in 10 Days
In 2019 I wrote a post titled How to Lose an Employee in 10 Days. For those who never read it (or don’t remember) you can check it out here. (Go ahead, I’ll wait. 😊)
Okay, now that we’ve figured out why our employees may or may not stick around, let’s talk about our prospects (or clients).
Just as important as a great employee experience, we want our future clients to trust us, too. As an advisor and extended team member to my clients, I get the inside scoop. For those of you in sales, listen up!
In the spirit of the 2003 classic rom-com How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, let’s now think through common reasons you could be losing your deals — and how to get back on the right track (from an insider’s perspective).
Put Down Your Competitors
Go ahead and call out your competitors for their perceived downfalls. Put it into PowerPoint and talk about it over and over again, calling them by name. Let the prospect know your competitor could never do it as well as you can. And don’t forget to be mean and aggressive.
THE SWITCH: Show your strengths versus putting others down. Better yet, prove it through demonstrations without mentioning a competitor. Ever! Calling out other companies for what you perceive to be their shortcomings, ends up becoming a problem for you, not them.
Blame the Advisor During the Sales Process
Make sure you the blame the advisor for why you aren’t connecting with the prospect or why you lost the deal. Don’t forget that it’s the advisor’s fault, too, that you weren’t able to speak to the senior leaders as much as you’d like.
THE SWITCH: Take a pause and look at what you may be able to do differently instead of placing blame on others. Remember that the advisor is an extension of the client. They’ve been working with them for months before you came on board, gained their trust, and have been asked to follow certain rules of engagement. In my experience, 100% of the time when someone is not doing well during the sales process, it is because they have not listened to all of the advice provided, taken advantage of the full open-door policy to ask questions, and have only treated me as a roadblock versus an accelerant.
Do Your Own Thing
Please make your own agenda and bypass every piece of advice given. Don’t follow any guidelines set forth.
THE SWITCH: It’s okay to be unique, but guidelines have been set for a reason and it’s not to be difficult. If you want to modify the agenda, just ask. There’s usually some wiggle room, but the client (yes, they have the final say in everything that goes to you) included the topics on the agenda for a reason. If you are not covering the items set forth, you are missing key components and the client doesn’t feel heard.
Worry About What You Will Gain
Instead of listening to the prospect, I mean truly seeking to understand, just think about what it will mean for you and/or your company when you win this deal. Think about that commission check and the recognition you will receive from bringing in [insert some tech giant here].
THE SWITCH: In order to have a chance of bringing this prospect on as a client, you need to put yourself aside and find out what they truly need. Meet their needs and the magic will happen. In the book “The Go-Giver,” Joe learns to put others first. He learns the importance of giving vs getting and how to add value to someone else’s life through the opportunities he brings them. Be Joe. It will pay off.
Continue to Push the Client When You Lose the Deal
By all means, reach out to every contact you made begging to be brought back in for one more chance. Email and call those senior-most folks and let them know you can figure out a way to have their concerns added to the roadmap (as if you have that control). And when they ask you (beg you) to stop because they made up their mind, continue to push even further.
THE SWITCH: Please gracefully accept the loss and ask for feedback. There are always legitimate reasons and extremely careful consideration that goes into these decisions before they are communicated to you. By the time you are notified, every possible angle was explored in making the decision that you are not the right fit, at this time. Remember that a ‘no’ right now does not always mean forever. Work on what was missing and bring that forward in the next opportunity.
To all of my friends in the sales world, please know that advisors are here to help you succeed. Take advantage of our offer to help you and guide you through the process when we are involved. I promise we will not steer you wrong. And remember to listen, prove your capabilities, and constantly think about how you and your company will add value through this opportunity. Good luck!