Tony is in charge of “closed lost” analysis at a company that sells complex solutions in a crowded market. In a recent interview, Tony told me that he converts about 50 percent of the “closed lost” deals he investigates to “closed won” using the following approach.
You don’t have to be a salesperson to learn from Tony’s approach. It’s about optimism, persistence and a spirit of inquiry.
- Rule number 1: You MUST believe in the product and believe you can win.
- Keep in mind that you have a fiduciary duty to both yourself and your company
- Keep your conversations “All about business”
Closed lost analysis
- On your first call, say (Probably by voicemail initially)
- I am working on improving our customer engagement process
- I understand you recently decided not to work with us (or to go with another solution)
- I want to understand how you arrived at your decision
- Did you understand our solution fully?
- I want to understand how my sales reps can improve
- I would like to ask for 5 minutes of your time, to help me understand what happened.
- I am not trying to change your mind, I just want to understand what happened.
- In the live phone call, repeat the above, but you may want to explore the following:
- Maybe the rep didn’t do a good job explaining our solution
- Maybe there was something you missed
- Continue to probe until you are satisfied. It doesn’t surprise me that Tony gets results with such a sincere and customer-oriented approach.
You don't need to take Tony's word for it either. Here's some proof that this works.Here are some other gems from my interview with Tony:
- Set aside one day a week just for cold calls: Make 40 calls that day
- Knock on every appropriate door in your territory
- Being aggressive about internal resources is half the game
Dealing with prospects:
- Nobody will give you a dime unless they have a problem that you can solve
- Telling people they can save money is not a way to win. They need to see you as an investment
- If they don’t see the problem, you have to show them. If they don’t see it after one sales call, move on
- If you can solve a problem you should expect them to buy it
- Once you have identified the problem, ask for commitment: “If we can meet your criteria, will you commit to buy our solution?”
- Ask your prospect if they can make the decision.
- If they say yes and you have doubts, ask: “Once you decide to proceed, what happens next?” If they say no, ask who can
- If they say it’s a team, you are talking to the wrong person
- People have to like you and feel comfortable dealing with you. They have to understand you’re not in it for yourself.
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