Competitive Edge Series: Winning It and Losing It

Most of us at some stage in our lives have had a wake-up call. Whether it be a health scare, a financial crisis or the death of someone we loved, and whilst, in that brief moment of time, nothing else mattered and our world temporarily collapsed, we eventually find out life goes on and business as usual becomes the norm. But one of two things happens:

We either use the wake-up call as leverage to move forward, re-adjust, be inspired to do different things, be reminded about what really matters or we hit the snooze button, go back to sleep and don’t make any changes at all.

However, today no one can afford to hit the snooze button- we can’t just take it on the chin and hope for the best or sit and wait and see what happens next. In business we either create an environment where we are the ones who get to work with our awesome clients, or our competitors do. It’s that simple. So how are we going to make sure we are the lucky ones? What do we do to make sure that losing a business opportunity can in fact be the wake-up call that leads us to something bigger?

Sales Executives Concerns

New Sales Reality

Steps to Sales Leadership

How do I cope with losing deals one after the other? The reality today is it is getting tougher. Recent results from a report by Synergy Group showed that 70% of salespeople expected their budgets to increase yet only 36% expected to achieve them. Procurement do not care how much work you have put into the deal, how many sales calls/meetings or proposal tweaks you have done. Decisions are being forwarded to committees and your buyer will be overridden by others who have no idea of the value proposition you have provided. Sad, but true! All salespeople will remember a sale they lost. For the smart ones it will be a wake-up call on how to turn around the next opportunity but only for those who:
• Take 100% responsibility for their actions and non-actions, their results and non-results and don’t blame anything else or anyone else no matter how bad the economy may be
• Ask for feedback on your loss and when you do ask the buyer to ‘put price to the side for the minute’ and ask what value or ROI they didn’t receive (perhaps this was a missed question in your qualification)that if they did might have made the difference.
• Keep the lines of communication open and have a mindset based on long term future opportunities on how they can help their buyers build their business as well as their own.
What do successful sales people do to keep going in a tough and competitive market? It’s not enough today to simply pay lip service in wanting to be successful or ‘leaning toward’ getting results. Today it’s all about being totally committed to getting results by operating from a state of conviction and certainty. Buyers expect it and salespeople who are committed to succeeding, work at it. • Successful people keep putting one foot in front of another.They are disciplined in their rituals and follow processes to keep them on track eg planning, CRM, Follow Up
• They realise that looking at their role, the situation, the win/loss ratio, they look at it objectively and not emotionally.
• They collaborate and leverage all resources, understand there will be the odd loss but also do everything in their power to consistently know the buyers business.
I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a salesperson especially when I have the stress of reaching targets that seem so unachievable? The reality is so many salespeople ask themselves a similar question to this one. The question might look different but has the same impact. A waste of time! It’s the kind of question that is designed to make you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, and it’s the kind of question that shows up in every other area of that person’s life that stops them from embracing any form of change, especially in today’s changing business landscape Losses cause us to question ourselves and that’s a good thing but it’s important to monitor the questions we ask.
1. Start by recognising that you do have value to bring to any table – sales or otherwise.
2. Start your question with a WHAT eg What can I do to be the successful salesperson that consistently reaches my targets? It presupposes so many things in that sentence – you are successful, you will do something, YOU will be the one doing it and you consistently reach your target.
3. Start involving others as well as yourself eg What can I do to be the successful salesperson that reaches my targets as well as helping my clients reach their targets? A very powerful reframe.

Just like in nature, if we are not green and growing we are dying. Wake-up calls in the form of losses, missed opportunities or outright defeat are designed to happen. They’re designed to make us wake up and grow, not go back to sleep and give up the ghost. Can you take a win from your next loss? Absolutely and I’d love you to share!

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Bernadette McClelland is a keynote speaker, leadership consultant, and a sales support team member for companies, in growth-mode, that need to quickly build a bridge between business goals and sales results.

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