No matter how good you are you will lose some deals. You will lose opportunities that you should easily have won, and this is true even when you have done everything right (yes, you can do everything right and still fail . . . it is a tricky game we play). When you know you were the right choice for your dream client because you had the right solution and because you were completely confident in producing their desired outcome better than any of your competitors, then you are still the right choice.
Your dream client may have mailed you a letter thanking you for your time and your energy—and telling you that you weren’t chosen. They may even have signed a contract with one of your fiercest competitors. To reasonable and objective observers, it may look as if your opportunity is gone.
It isn’t. Your opportunity is only gone if you believe and behave as if it is gone.
Resetting the Clock
When you have lost a big deal opportunity with your dream client, the clock is reset to zero and the game starts over.
What has changed? Nothing. Nothing has changed.
When you found your dream client, they were using one of your competitors. They may have kept that competitor, or they may have chosen another one of your competitors. Regardless, nothing has changed. They are using someone else and you still want to produce a better result for them.
When you first discovered the decision-makers, decision-influencers, and stakeholders within your dream client’s company, you knew you had to nurture the relationships and build a case for you and your company over time. You still have all of the contacts and connections within the company, and you still have the ability to nurture these relationships until you create another opportunity or one presents itself.
You discovered all kinds of dissatisfaction through your relationships, and you built the solution with these contacts to resolve this dissatisfaction and replace it with something better. It was the right solution. It is still the right solution. There will be a time in the future—and maybe not an all that distant future—when dream clients will again find themselves challenged with something that recreates the dissatisfaction that gave your opening. There will be another opening.
Giving Up and Giving Up Too Soon
If you believe the contest is over, then it is easy to give up and go searching for a hotter opportunity.
You can, however, choose a healthier belief.
Instead of giving up and moving on, you can believe that losing this opportunity will inform your plan to better nurture what it is still your dream client.
You can choose to believe that the relationships that you have created are still valuable and, should you stay close to them, you will be informed of any failures. If your solution was right, who is to say that your competitor will succeed? If they fail, will you know? Will you be there to pick up the pieces and help your dream client in their time of need?
Or will you only be known for having done a tremendous job having nurtured all of these relationships and for building a great solution and then disappearing, to be seen again in 24 months when you believe the contract will be up for renewal?
It might 3 months, it might 6 months, or it might even take years. Over time, your opportunity will be reborn. You will get another chance—if you continue to treat your lost opportunity like it is still the dream client that it still is. Your dream client will face new challenges, will have new opportunities, and will over time experience dissatisfaction.
Will you be there when the opportunity is reborn?
1. What do you believe about losing an opportunity? How does your belief drive your actions after you have lost a deal?
2. How long should you wait after losing an opportunity before contacting and connecting with your relationships within you dream client’s company?
3. How long should you wait before you begin the aggressive, committed nurturing plan that you know winning in the future requires? What will these people believe about you if you disappear for long periods of time?
4. Have you ever lost a deal, then found that your dream client moved to another competitor between your loss and your next communication without you even knowing? How did that happen? Who in the relationship is responsible for ensuring that you know when they are dissatisfied and when an opportunity is reborn? What will you to ensure this never happens (or never happens again)?
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