Yesterday, Dennis and I were reviewing Lost Deal comments for a client when we came across one that began, "In the end, when all was said and done..."
You really don't have to read any further. You can easily recognize, from just the first few words, that this was going to be a fairy tale. A story. One salesperson's editorial. A whole lot of words that will not be particularly useful for you or the analysis. Webster's Dictionary defines a fairy tale as "a false story meant to trick people."
When it comes to analyzing lost deals, we should be far more interested in watching a police show, like Dragnet, where you are more likely to hear, "Just the facts, Ma'am." (Yes, I know my link goes to the TV show and the image goes to the more recent movie.)
You don't want to wade through paragraphs of editorial to find the few facts that may, or may not, be included. The facts allow you to determine whether or not:
- there was ever an opportunity in the first place,
- the opportunity was a strong enough,
- they had a compelling reason to buy,
- they had a compelling reason to buy from you,
- the salesperson developed a relationship,
- the salesperson effectively differentiated,
- they were willing to spend more money to do business with you,
- the salesperson was speaking with the decision maker,
- the timeline was aligned,
- our solution was needs and cost appropriate,
- they were committed to moving their business or making a change,
- you were well positioned against expectations,
- you were well positioned against the competition, and
- they intended to buy from you.
We must be able to have meaningful lost deal reviews. While it is always important to learn if we lost for any of the usual reasons (price, timing, features, fit, etc.), we also need to learn if those usual reasons were the actual reasons or excuses, if these reasons came from the salesperson's best guess or directly from the prospect, and whether or not our salespeople could have changed the outcome if they had been more effective, more thorough, or more efficient during the sales process. When you have facts instead of guesses, conducting a lost business analysis will reveal the reasons behind your win/loss rate. Win/loss rates are at an all-time low. If you didn't have a chance before the Thanksgiving break, read this analysis about why the win rate is at an all-time low.
Review the comments that your salespeople are providing relative to why you don't win the business and make sure their reasons read more like Dragnet and less like a fairy tale.