Learning from Lost Sales
Any sales manager will tell you that the goal is to constantly improve the sales process that your team follows. One way to do so is to learn from lost sales through a thorough analysis of your sales pipeline and process using collected data from a number of sales cycles.
It isn’t always possible to be successful with your sales goals, it happens to the best of us, but with the right outlook and approach to analysis you can learn a lot from lost sales and put in place a tweaked approach to continuously improve your sales process and use defeat to your advantage.
If you are to learn from lost sales it is about having the correct mindset. There are a few things you can do as a sales manager or business owner, to help you get to where you need to be and not to get too downhearted after losing a sale that has been worked hard on for some time.
You Don’t Learn from a Victory – It is true that if you are constantly the winner and get sales through consistently, you’ll be happy, but you’ll also be standing still in terms of your sales process as why would you change a good thing? This can only work for you for so long as new techniques and approaches come about due to a tweaking of approach brought on by failure. Losing out on a sale forces you to dig deep and ask questions as to why you lost the sale. From there you can build for a stronger future.
Be Patient – You’ll want to ask questions from those who have decided to purchase elsewhere, and many lost customers will be happy to do so. Everyone is different though, so never force the issue as you might scare respondents off from answering at all. A short face-to-face interview isn’t always an option and some lost customers are more likely to give you more detailed feedback a few weeks down the line, after they’ve purchased with a competitor.
Change the Company Culture – One way to ensure that the company as a whole does continuously improve and learn from lost sales is to make lost sales surveys a standard practice of your sales process. This should count from every small sale, to the largest you are chasing. This approach means that every member of your sales team understands that they will be scrutinised, taking the pressure off compared with spot checks where a few team members might feel the heat.
Use an External Company – Using an experience team that understands how to collect the right type of data for lost sales surveys will be completely impartial and know how to press the right buttons. Utilise their experience to gain the most thorough data possible to learn from.
Learning from lost sales is a vital tool when looking to improve the sales process within your organisation. It takes humility and a dedication to your craft and is well worth the thought, data collection and in-depth analysis.