Today's post is by LaVon Koerner, Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Storm, which he cofounded in 2000 to offer companies worldwide a suite of comprehensive, proven tools and techniques for profitable revenue growth. Download Revenue Storm’s latest white paper, “How a Successful Coaching Strategy Increases Revenue.”
Awhile back, one of my colleagues made a comment that stuck in my mind. It is one of those comments that just eat away at you until you get it off your chest. She said, “I could never be in sales because I’m too sensitive. I could never take it when someone says ‘no’ and picks someone else over me.”
She, like a lot of people, believes that salespeople don’t experience feelings of hurt and rejection when they lose a deal. They believe we have thick skins and have become numb to the sensitivities of doing business. They erroneously surmise that good salespeople must be ruthless and maybe even a little heartless.
I’m sure there are extremely successful sales professionals who never have to feel the agony of defeat; however, over the years, it has been my observation that those who feel the most pain over a loss are the ones who have the largest capacity for love and care towards a customer during the sales campaign.
I like to see sales professionals allow themselves to become vulnerable to the pain of rejection by letting their heart get involved. If you hold back, you are not putting it all on the line. By default, a campaign becomes a clinical exercise of executing a strategy through a carefully constructed set of controlled tactics. Why not also make it a personal crusade to advance your heartfelt beliefs that you, your offering, and your company can really help your customer more than your competition?
So what do you say when you’ve put all your heart into it and still lose?
- Don’t say your price was too high. It is our job to know the price range in which we will be competing. Once that is known, and you elect to stay in the pursuit, you can no longer justify a loss by blaming it on price.
- Don’t say your offering was subpar compared to the competitor. Chances are slim that you and your company had not already gone up against the competitor to whom you lost. That being the case, you should already know what is most likely being offered to your mutual prospect. With this competitive intelligence and electing to stay in the pursuit, you remove offering superiority as a reason for losing.
When you lose a sale, the only honest thing you can say is: “I was outsold.” Once you’ve qualified the opportunity and elected to engage in a sales pursuit, you are saying that it is possible to win. This means you’ve accepted the responsibility for orchestrating and managing a sales campaign aimed at winning. So if you don’t win, it’s because you executed an inferior sales campaign and were outsold. Each loss flags an ineffective sales campaign, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the sales professional that conducted the campaign.
That’s the reason losing hurts so much. It places the spotlight on a poor performance. The more we accept this, the more mature we become as sales professionals and the more we enable ourselves to learn from each loss.
The best sales professionals I’ve met and interviewed always accept the blame for encountering a loss. They can say the hardest and most gut-wrenching words in the language of sales, “I was outsold.”
Not getting the sales traction you want? Hear LaVon speak on the evolution of selling and why you need to update your approach.