So You Think You Lost the Sale?

Losing a sale is something that we’ve all experienced.  Sometimes it feels like the prospect’s mind seemed to change for no apparent reason, sometimes you had a sense that there was something negative in the mind of your prospect, but you just couldn’t figure it out. Perhaps, worse than the actual event is the discouragement you feel when you cannot determine why you lost this sale.  Then, you are left to worry about when and how you will lose the next one.

You may have analyzed these sales situations and re-examined your sales process over and over again. Were there other competitors that were being considered?  Did they decide to stick with an existing supplier?  Was the prospect just looking for a "free" education?  Was there an undisclosed decision-maker who vetoed you?  Did you miss an incomplete answer or partially ignore an objection?  Did the prospect just decide not to decide?

Reviewing a lost sales opportunity and your sales process is a good idea. However, by the time you realize that you won’t get the sale, it’s usually too late to learn the real reason.  At that point, most customers don’t want to reveal all of the details of their decision.

The time to find out why a sale is not going to go through is early in the sales process, when you’re meeting with the prospect.  Discover it in the moment. Then, you have the time to respond, and to choose your best course of action.

Of course, the idea of a lost sale implies that there was an opportunity there at one point and that you, the salesperson, somehow lost it.  In most of these cases there really was not much chance of making the sale in the first place.  The key is making that determination as soon as possible, before you spend more time, effort and resources.

For over forty years, we have observed hundreds of top-performing salespeople, in the field, while prospecting and on appointments.  The way that they solve this problem is to simply ask a complete set of direct, pertinent questions about the most common end-of-the-sale "deal-killers." They do that very early in the sales process.

Asking questions is not a new sales concept. The critical differences are in the type of question, the purpose of each question, how the questions are delivered and the how responses are handled. These questions are part of a pre-planned sequence, which is part of a mutual discovery and commitment process.

Discover what the customer wants and doesn’t want to see in your proposal, before you prepare it.  Discover whether there are other decision makers, influencers, or competitors.  Find out what may be happening in the background that could keep them from doing business with you.  These are all legitimate questions.

Attempting to close a sale without this information is the kind of strategy that creates anxiety and stress.  Success comes down to asking the right questions and acting on the answers in a way that improves your sales productivity.  These types of questions create a series of "opt-in or opt-out" discussion points for the prospect and the salesperson. Invest your time, energy and resources where you will get the best return on those investments.

Many salespeople are unwilling to ask the "hard questions."  However, you will gain the respect of most prospects when you do.  For the top producers we’ve observed, asking those questions is one of the primary reasons they are so successful.  You might often think you lost a sale when, in the same circumstances, a top producer will know it was not a real sales opportunity in the first place.

For more information on how to do this, click here.


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Paul Bunn – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.


Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

Consultative Selling is Obsolete

Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Consultative Selling and all of its relatives such as SPIN Selling, Solution Selling, Strategic Selling, Customer Focused Selling, Buying Facilitation, etc. are merely variations of the "Needs Selling" systems of the 1960’s. ?Consultative Selling? has been in vogue with salespeople for over three decades – with good reason. Most salespeople still believe that finding prospects who need their products and services, and then convincing (or helping) them to buy, is a viable sales strategy. Thus, acting like a consultant might seem to be the best way to initiate the sales process. However, in today?s world that strategy is obsolete.

Information Overload, caused by massive increases of all forms of communications, has radically changed the markets for virtually every product and service. It has made prospects and customers far more knowledgeable, sophisticated, skeptical and sales-resistant than they were just ten years ago.

Hardly anyone is fooled by Consultative Selling anymore. Most prospects are worn out and disgusted by salespeople who ?just want to ask a few questions so that they can help them.? They have heard dozens of variations of pitches designed to arouse their interest and desire. Salespeople that act like Advisors or Consultants are misrepresenting their true agenda, which is to make a sale.

Everyone knows that the primary objective of salespeople is not to help prospects, clients and customers; it is to produce sales in order to earn money. Salespeople would be doing some other kind of work if they didn?t get paid for producing sales.

If you feel disturbed or upset by these assertions, but want to learn more, that is a good thing. If you resent and resist them, then you are destined to continue to work too hard, and struggle too much, trying to improve your mastery of an obsolete selling system.

Here is one of the primary clues to the obsolescence of Consultative Selling. You find yourself working with prospects who need, and have an interest in, what you are selling ? only to find that nearly all of them are the wrong prospects?at the wrong time.

It is now entirely feasible to find an abundance of prospects who already know about their needs for the benefits of your products and services. These are prospects who are ready to spend time and money to satisfy those needs. That kind of ?high probability prospect? is being continuously created by Information Overload.

Here is another clue. These ?high probability prospects? don’t want a new best friend. Whether on not they really like you is unimportant to them. Attempts at "building rapport" or ?creating a relationship? turn them off.

Most high probability prospects don?t expect to buy the best possible solution to satisfy their needs. They just want to buy a satisfactory solution that they can absolutely rely on to serve their purpose. Therefore, they want to deal with a salesperson that they trust and respect; one who also trusts and respects them. However, they don?t trust and respect people who try to appear as if they are consultants ? instead of what they really are ? salespeople. In order to be trusted and respected you must be authentic.

Thousands of top producers, in almost every industry, have learned or figured out most of the steps of a sales paradigm that eliminates the need for persuasion, convincing, manipulation, and misdirection. These top producers know how to find and meet with high probability prospects when they are ready to buy or specify their type of products and services. They can quickly develop relationships of mutual trust and respect with their prospects. They know how to prevent objections, and to close effortlessly without pressure or discomfort.

If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time?Sell Well

Jacques Werth ? High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

How Top Salespeople Maintain Their Dignity and Self-Respect

Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Prospects and customers, no matter their titles or status, are people like you and me.  We all have a very strong preference for dealing with people that we respect. 

The degree in which a prospect feels respect for the salesperson is extremely important.  It is almost as important as their trust in the salesperson.  We don’t really know whether it is a deliberate behavior of top salespeople to maintain their dignity and self-respect, or whether it is a character trait.  Either way, it is very important to adopt that attitude and learn that attitude and behavior if you want to become a top producer.

Many of our highly successful graduates have reported tremendously improved relationships with their prospects and customers.  They also cite far greater enjoyment in their work and much higher levels of self-esteem.

Becoming someone who is a widely respected salesperson is relatively easy to learn how to do.

It starts with the disqualification mindset.  The stated purpose of each prospect contact is to determine whether there is a mutually acceptable basis for doing business, now.  If not, you will (temporarily) disqualify the prospect.  That enables a relationship of equals.  You, the salesperson, are no longer a supplicant.

One simple step can be that you stop saying “Thank you,” when the prospects have done nothing more than share time with you.  You understand that they not doing you a favor; they are with you in the hope or expectation of getting something that they want.  Your time is just as valuable as any prospect’s time; if for no other reason than it is your life.

Adopting an attitude of dignity and self-respect enables you to be comfortable about saying “You’re welcome” and mean it, when the prospect says “Thank you” as he/she hands you a signed contract.

Of course, it is much easier to do if you know how to acquire an abundance of high probability prospects. 

If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.


Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

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