3 years ago
January 7, 2015

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Losing a Sale

There are several questions you need to ask why you found yourself losing a sale.

Rhys Metler

It happens to every sales person at least once. You feel like you are right on the verge of making the big sale when suddenly the customer starts reacting in a way that you know you are losing a sale. When this happens to you, you need to sit back and take a good long look at the whole process and where things might have gone wrong and why you found yourself losing a sale. There are several questions you need to ask yourself.

1. Were you totally prepared?

Sometimes it’s hard to know at exactly what point you are losing a sale. You need to go back to the very beginning and determine whether you were adequately prepared. Ask yourself if you were completely sure of the client’s needs. Did you find out exactly what the client was looking for? Did you have the necessary information to develop a presentation or proposal that would show the client you completely understood their needs? Was your product knowledge sufficient to begin with? Losing a sale can happen at the very beginning of the process and you need to look back to your very first encounter to determine where things may have gone wrong.

2. How did your initial contact go?

You can find yourself losing a sale from the very first contact. Try to think what was said at your very first meeting. Did you miss some important information? Losing a sale at the initial contact is more likely due to something you said or did that the customer did not like. You may still be asked to make a proposal and a presentation, but it is hard to get past a bad first impression. Think about everything from your original greeting to how the client reacted to you. When losing a sale, think about whether something felt wrong from the very beginning.

3. Was your proposal right?

If you did learn the needs of the client, did you make your proposal in such a way that it was clear you understood what they wanted? Losing a sale in this part of the process is fairly common. Perhaps your presentation is too canned and, while it may have covered all of the basics of what you have to offer, it may not have been specific enough to what the client was really looking for. When you are making a presentation, it is often obvious that you are losing a sale. In addition to product information, you are also projecting a personal and a company image. Think back to every part of your presentation from how you were dressed to how you handled questions at the end.

4. Why do you think the client said no?

Again, look back at the entire process. Did the client ask questions? If so, did you answer appropriately. If the customer went with another company, look at the company and see what the differences were between your product and theirs. You can also ask yourself about other companies that may not have gotten as far as you did before losing a sale. Looking at those companies can show you where you were stronger and where you may need to focus more in the future.

5. Now what?

It is often hard to accept losing a sale. It is absolutely appropriate to ask the client why they said no. In fact, the only way you can work on avoiding losing a sale in the future is to find out why you lost this one. Most clients will give you some idea as to why they went with someone else. Use this information to improve or correct any areas where you were lacking.

It’s tough losing a sale, but it happens to everyone. The key to future success is to learn from the loss by reviewing what went wrong and making appropriate changes for the future.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.