What You Need to KNOW, Because the Best Solution Doesn't Always Win

QUESTION: I recently had this conversation and sales event with a professional sales/management young lady that I have mentored for many years. Because it has an unusual happy ending, I’d like to share it with you.
“George, I lost an account that I had been working on for weeks and I feel so beat up and demoralized that it’s almost difficult to put into words.
I pursued this account with tremendous diligence using most of the techniques that you have taught me over the years. I understood their problems, got close to them so communication seemed to be right on target and I believed that our solutions were the best solutions for them. What really hurts is that they made their decision on issues that just weren’t that important.Not only am I upset because I lost but I’m upset because they lost too.”
RESPONSE: My young friend learned valuable lessons that included:
  • The best solution doesn’t always win
  • The one with the highest sense of service doesn’t always win either
  • Solutions and services are only prerequisites for success
  • It is possible to sell competitively without selling negatively
  • And the one who wins isn’t necessarily the best person with the best product but possibly just the best competitor
So here are the future considerations and how we turned this event around;
  1. KNOW YOUR COMPETITOR: You need to know everything there is to know about the competition.
  2. KNOW THE OPPOSING SALES PERSON OR TEAM: There is a strong difference between sales people, their approaches, their presentations and their closing methods. Know who you are dealing with.
  3. PICK THE ISSUES THAT GIVE YOU THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: If you can control the issues you can control the sale.
  4. SELL TO THE INDIVIDUALS NOT TO THE COMPANY AS A GROUP: Remember that groups are not homogeneous. They are composed of individuals who will have different reasons for voting the way they do.I know you are going to scream at me, “THIS IS NOT FAIR” but life isn’t fair. When it comes time to vote, personal issues typically outweigh corporate ones.
  5. FINALLY, CONSIDER YOURSELF THE QUARTERBACK: An outstanding quarterback gets ready for the game, knows where he might get overrun or intercepted, and understands the opposing team and their players and DIRECTS THE GAME PLAN.
I was fortunate that this young lady’s company is very progressive, determined and strives for excellence. They hired me to perform a “post mortem” on the alleged lost sale. I met with the players of her company, learned about and understood the presentation and its intended results for the prospect. I called the President of the prospective company, explained who I was, why I was calling and asked for an appointment in the immediate future which was granted. When I left they were so impressed that the selling company had gone to such lengths to secure them as a customer, they invited BOTH competitors back for a second presentation. And yes you guess it; “our” team got the final contract signed at the day of presentation. A 1.5 million dollar loss one week turned into a $1.5M gain the next week. Aren’t happy endings great? As always, please accept my wishes for a tremendous week. If I can be of assistance to you or your organization when it comes to revenue growth, retention or recruiting, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Regards,
George F. Mancuso, CPC President Client Growth Consultants, Inc.