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So here's the thing, we’ve been working on a project with a large organization recently and hope to close the deal soon. But, suddenly, without warning, our client has gone missing. MIA, gone, nowhere to be found. Not literally, but they stopped returning calls, answering emails and basically began ignoring us. Did we do something wrong? Did they buy a competitors solution? I got to thinking about what may have happened and have come to a few conclusions. Read on and you may save yourself a few deals….
You lost a deal when everything seemed to be going just fine, you didn’t do anything wrong (so you think) and the relationship was getting stronger with each phone call. Then suddenly, without warning, whammo, game over, no more prospect. This happens to everyone and your being confused it not unusual. Here’s the thing, you were probably not as far along as you thought you were. You were HOPING to get a deal, but in all your hoping you forgot about learning the prospects real truth. In other words, you were caught up with yourself, what you may have gained and how you needed this sale. Getting caught up with this stuff before learning the truth is a recipe for disappointment.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone does this. We start to anticipate how the process will go and also begin expecting that things will happen as we hope they will. When our prospects go missing, we are left feeling lost, anxious, confused and sometimes downright offended. Don’t feel this way, it doesn’t help. What does help is learning what happened - exactly.
When your prospects go missing it doesn’t mean you lost the sale, it simply means you don’t know the truth yet.
You may be thinking, OK, but if Joe Prospect won’t return my calls, ignores my emails (even the fancy ones with pictures and other neato stuff) and we don’t have a scheduled appointment, how will I get to the bottom of this? Easily. Take a step back for a minute and stop chasing sales that don’t exists (yet). Call Joe (emails don’t work for this) and tell him you are totally OK with his decision, regardless of what it is, but you are concerened that YOU let him down. Yup, take the blame, jump in the fire, take-it like one of those army dudes you see on TV lunging on the grenade - it’s your only option, just like the GI Joe dude that lost his X#@ while saving his buddy. Here’s a little something to get you going…..
“Hi Joe, this is David, I’m calling because I feel like I dropped the ball and let you down. We had a good relationship going for awhile and when it suddenly ended, I was worried that I offended you. I’m not calling to move things forward, I assume you went with somebody else, I’m calling to see if you have any feedback as to where I can improve the level of service I try to bring all my clients. ”
You may or may not save any deals with Joe. But, at minimum you will learn exactly what went wrong and work to avoid it in the future. You will learn that you are far less anxious and stressed out about Joe (yes, you were frustrated when he bailed on you). And, finally, you will increase your confidence and selling ability because you will know exactly what strategy to take the next time this happens.
Learning the truth is productive, educational and profitable! If your making sales without learning the total truth about your customers, their expectations and the problem you are trying to solve for them - consider yourself lucky. In some things it’s better to be lucky than good (so they say), in sales, it’s better to be GOOD than lucky because luck always runs out. Like they say on the diamond, skill never slumps!