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Lost deals, as well as sales calls and sales meetings that go south, make up a huge portion of our coaching calls with clients and their salespeople. After all, everyone can learn a lot more from what went wrong than they can from what went right. We also coach clients and their salespeople on how to win the deals that are currently in the later stages of their pipelines. They tend to be overly optimistic, so for a dose of reality, we always ask about what could possibly go wrong. They rarely know what could go wrong, so we help them out and introduce them to a long list of possibilities.
Today, Murphy's Law made a rare appearance at our company. My favorite law from Murphy is, "Beauty is only skin deep. Ugly goes straight to the bone." Unfortunately, that wasn't the law that appeared. Of course, it was, "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong." Here's what happened...Last week, we received a verbal go ahead from the CEO of a company and a formal agreement was to be signed today. There didn't seem to be anything that could derail this deal and in addition, they had tremendous urgency to get started. They knew they needed help and in my opinion, things were even worse than what they thought.
Last week, they were very excited about what we could do to help and couldn't wait to get started. We were talking with both the Chairman and the CEO, so we couldn't have gone any higher in the company. We are uniquely qualified to provide the very specific help that they required in both the short and long term and there was terrific alignment on both sides of the table.
Today, we learned that they were going with another company due to the relationships that two of their outside investors had with the competitor.
Wait a minute...what outside investors? Isn't the chairman the outside investor?
How did we miss that?
In an action adventure novel, there is never only one bad guy trying to kill the hero; there are always at least two! And the mastermind never sends just one team of bad guys, he always sends a backup team just in case his first team fails.
Remember this!! It doesn't matter whether we are talking about bad guys or outside investors. There are always at least two!!
It turns out that there are more than two more outside investors. Would knowing that last week have changed anything? Maybe. We could have asked if the outside investors would have input. We could have asked to include them in the conversation. We could have asked if they knew anybody in our business. We could have asked what would happen if they wanted to work with someone they had personal experience with. We could have sold them on working with us. We could have done more than we did.
In professional sales, there is a qualified opportunity and then there is thoroughly qualified opportunity. On the opportunity in question, we substituted qualified for thoroughly qualified. It does not help to know that our version of qualified is still at least 10 times more qualified than what the typical salesperson calls qualified. Does-not-matter-one-bit. If you miss something, whether or not you should have known about it, you still missed it. If something catches you by surprise after the fact, you still missed it. If a new competitor, a new stakeholder, a new issue, a new budget, or even a new time line comes up at the 12th hour, you still missed it.
It's our job to know everything. We failed because we didn't do our job.
There is yet another way to lose a deal and that's by losing control of your emotions. Read this article on the Hubspot Blog for more.
Join me for one of the following free presentations coming up in the next couple of weeks:
February 19 at Noon Eastern: How to Hire Your Next Salesperson presented by TAB.
February 26 at 11 AM Eastern: The Magic Behind OMG's Legendary Sales Candidate Assessments presented by Objective Management Group
March 5 at 9 AM Eastern: The Power of Sales Process and Pipeline Management/CRM presented by Membrain and Kurlan & Associates
Finally, the latest issue of Top Sales World Magazine is available today.