How You Lose Deals

This is how you lose deals.

  1. Selling when there is no compelling need: You are not going to win a deal when no deal is possible because your prospective client has no compelling need.
  2. Skipping stages of the sales process: Skipping stages of the sales process means not taking the actions you know are necessary to win.
  3. Failing to control the sales process: Much of the time your buyer’s process doesn’t serve you. Agreeing to that process ensures you lose.
  4. Failing to gain the commitments you need: By failing to get the commitments that you know you need you endanger your deal and increase the odds of a loss.
  5. Failing to create value for your prospect during sales calls: It’s difficult to gain a commitment that moves an opportunity forward if you haven’t done the work to deserve that commitment. You do that by creating value for your dream client in every interaction.
  6. Focusing on low levels of value in your solution: Unless you’re calling on an end-user, the lower levels of value in the features and benefits of your product are not compelling enough to get you a win.
  7. Failing to elevate the discovery conversation to strategic: Without identifying the strategic outcomes worth pursuing, you make a “no” more likely.
  8. Not developing a compelling case for change: The most difficult sale you make is the compelling case for change. Without a compelling case for change, you lose, or you get a no decision.
  9. Transactional behaviors: Transactional behaviors are behaviors that make your prospective client feel as if all you were trying to do is get a quick close. There’s no focus on value creation. Unless what you sell should be sold transactionally, this will kill your deal.
  10. Choosing to communicate using lesser mediums: The most important conversations you have should be held using the best and most effective medium. This is NOT an email. And it will cost you an opportunity.
  11. Being self-oriented: The more that your prospective client feels that your motive is about your commission check, the more likely you are to lose that deal.
  12. Failing to identify the buying committee: In small sales, you may be dealing with a single decision-maker. But in larger, more complex business-to-business sales, that is unlikely. If you don’t identify the stakeholders and understand their needs, you end up with a big L.
  13. Failing to build consensus: One of the easiest ways to lose an opportunity is to fail to create consensus within the stakeholders that will eventually vote on whether or not to choose you and your solution.
  14. Not tailoring the value to individual stakeholders: It isn’t easy to give each stakeholder what they need in a solution, but without customizing the value to the different stakeholders you are unlikely to gain their support. This often results in a loss.
  15. Not dealing with obstacles: There are all kinds of obstacles you need to overcome on the way to a deal. These can be barriers that prevent your solution from being acceptable. An obstacle might be a single human being. Without addressing these obstacles, you jeopardize a “yes.”
  16. Selling without a conversation about money and budget: At some point, you have to talk about the money. You have to be willing to talk about the investment your prospective client needs to make to get the results they want.
  17. Focusing on price: Believe it or not, you can lose opportunities because you are so focused on price when you should be focused on creating value in a solution.
  18. Solving the wrong problem: If the customer tells you exactly what they need to address the problem, and you present something different without having gained agreement that that was the right answer, you lose. You need to solve the right problem to win.
  19. Presenting poorly: “Show me that picture of your corporate office and the image of your executive management team.” Said no one, ever.
  20. Presenting a solution that your client hasn’t already said “yes” to. There is no reason that your prospective client should be surprised by what you show them in your presentation. That’s a “no.”
  21. Allowing the customer to believe price and cost are the same thing: Your dream client thinks price and cost are the same thing unless and until you do something about it.
  22. Failing to justify the delta between your price and your competitor’s price: Your price is higher for a reason. If you can’t explain that reason, you don’t deserve to win.
  23. Failing to provide the necessary proof: If your dream client needs you to provide evidence of what you have said and what you promised, you need to provide it. Otherwise, it’s a loss.
  24. Trying to match your competitor’s price or strategy: If your competitor has a lower price, that may be their strategy, but it isn’t yours. You have to play your game, not theirs.
  25. Poor deal strategy: If you haven’t tested the ideas that you believe make up your strategy with a red team, you aren’t anticipating how you might lose. Without toughening up your deals, you risk a loss.

Correct these and you’ll win so much you might get sick of winning. But I doubt it.

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Filed under: Competition

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