We do a lot of loss analyses, examining hundreds of pitches a year across a wide range of business sectors. Brutal as it sounds, you don’t get unlucky in pitches – you lose them. The top 5 reasons sellers lose complex sales are:
1. Flogging a dead horse
Don’t waste time on pitches you cannot win. Review every opportunity early and use carefully chosen qualification criteria to make GO/NO GO decisions. If you walk away from an opportunity early, you haven’t lost that pitch and you can spend time on something more worthwhile.
2. Death by falling in love
This accounts for maybe 70% of the losses we review. It happens when you focus on someone in the customer organisation who is really keen on your solution but fails to understand the Buying Center.
3. Only doing what the customer asks you to do
This often results in losing control of the sales process. Examples are submitting a proposal too early or presenting to a group of stakeholders without sufficient understanding of their needs.
4. Assuming that what the customer wants is what they need
Use your experience and ask carefully crafted questions about the customer’s real needs. What the client initially asked for is not what they really require.
5. Not tailoring your value proposition to each stakeholder
“What’s in it for me?” That’s the question everyone in the virtual meeting will be asking when you present your solution. If you haven’t established each stakeholder’s needs beforehand and made sure you illustrate how you will deliver value to them, don’t expect them to support your proposal.
When You Lose a Complex Sale, Ask Yourself:
- Was it for one of the reasons above?
- Do you have a plan to avoid repeating the same mistakes?
- Does your team actively look for deficits in their sales process?