When you enter a win or a loss into your CRM, you are often asked to type a note of explanation of the outcome you chose. There is rarely enough room for any significant account, but it would be rare for that answer to be accurate, regardless of your note.
You Don’t How You Won
We believe we know why we won, even though there are too many factors at play, many of which may be beyond our identify or understand.
How much of your win was the result of your timing, showing up at the right moment, a moment in which your dream client was susceptible to you and your ideas? At another time, your prospect may have been far more resistant to you and your ideas.
As much as it pains me to write this, mostly because I never want you to rely on your client’s long, storied history and solutions to win a deal (that being the opposite of Level 4 Value, as I have described in Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition), but you may not ever know exactly how much of the decision to buy from you was the client’s belief your company was strong—even if you were not.
The contacts at your client may have found you the most likable person they met with, deciding that you would be someone who would be easy to work with and someone they would like to have on their team. They may also have found you to be the smartest person and the one who helped them best understand how to think about the decision they needed to make, as well as how to execute once they decided.
Your Client Doesn’t Really Know Why You Won
Your client will tell you that you won because you had the best solution and they believed you were the right person with the right team and the right company. They might even point to some of the differentiators that they thought would make the difference for them—even though they would have no real way to know whether you would execute until after they started working with you.
They would not, however, be aware of the subconscious reasons they awarded you their business, their subconscious being outside of their awareness, just like yours and mine. They wouldn’t know why they felt so comfortable with you, why they found you credible, or why they preferred to work with you instead of your competitor. They wouldn’t recognize that your confidence made you more credible than someone else, a someone else they felt was somehow a little bit off, even if they couldn’t explain why.
In a study of rats, female rats can smell a male rat with a genetic mutation in its RNA, an indication of genetic predisposition to cancer. The female rats will not mate with those male rats, even though the rat is incapable of consciously knowing why it shuns the male rat. As complex as a rat is, we humans are in many ways more complex, part of that complexity being the fact we are conscious that we are possessed with—and by—a subconscious.
When filling in the reason you won or a lost a deal, ask your client, and take your best guess at why you won, writing something you hope to be useful in relating your success. But also recognize that you are writing down only part of an answer that is undoubtedly more complicated than what you type.
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