Whether you’re an agent trying to make headway with a potential client using your organization’s cloud call center software, or a B2B sales manager trying to finalize what looked like a done deal, it’s never a good feeling to hear one of the many variations of “no”.
It’s inevitable in any sales job, and everyone will hear it far more often than a positive answer, but that’s usually little comfort. Having it happen right at the finish line is particularly frustrating, and you may want to just forget about it and move on to the next opportunity. But this is rarely in your best interest.
Instead, look for ways to learn from the deals you couldn’t close. What follows are a few ways to do that.
You should already be keeping a record of all business activities, including potential sales. If you want to be more successful, you’ll need to thoroughly evaluate your sales process to determine any key differences between made and lost sales. You should be able to pinpoint things such as which stage of the sales process most of your lost deals fell through.
You may also see that successful deals tend to be of a different size than lost deals, or that you’re following leads you shouldn’t be by overestimating the chances of success when it comes to lost deals. Once you’re able to pinpoint factors like these, you can begin asking why they exist and determining what to do about them.
It’s also important to keep expectations realistic. While you should always be looking for ways to improve your sales process, the fact is that the vast majority of leads fail to convert into realistic sales opportunities, and even as little as six percent of opportunities convert into sales.
Use your insights
It’s very possible that mistakes are being made during the initial steps of your sales process. In fact, many believe that up to half of total sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. With data you’ve gathered regarding past sales, you can easily determine who your best contacts are and apply that knowledge to future prospects.
What leads have proven successful in the past? What level of employee should your reps speak with for the fastest connection to someone with purchasing power? At what stage in the sales process are your reps most successful with their marketing materials? Knowing this will help you stay consistent with what works and eliminate approaches that don’t.
It’s also imperative to look at your competitors and their win/loss rates. This may help you develop better strategies in areas where you’re failing. It can also draw your attention to any of their customers you may be able to serve better. Separating the factors of your wins and losses will both help you to go after the right deals in the future, and it may also help you identify when a deal is going wrong in time to fix it.
Finally, even after a deal falls through, keeping a conversation going with a lost prospect is often the best thing you can do. You may be able to find out what stopped them from buying from you or what made them decide to go with a competitor instead. You may find out that it just wasn’t the right time for them to buy after all, or maybe you were just a bit too late to the table.
It’s always a good idea to keep lost prospects in mind for later. Just because you couldn’t make a deal today doesn’t mean there isn’t one in the future.