3 Big Reasons Why You Lost That Sale

Overcome these common mistakes and make more sales

One of the most misunderstood phrases in our business is the “lost sale.” Sales managers hate any lost sale, but especially when the forecast is depending on it.

A lost sale means that you had a legitimate opportunity to secure the deal and you got outsold, outbid, or outmaneuvered. However, if you never had an actual shot because something kicked you out of the running before a proposal was ever made, that’s not a lost sale, even if you submitted a quote or a contract.

If you’re failing to close more deals than you’d like, take a look at these three things. You just might be overlooking them when selling:

1. Failure to fully qualify the buyer.
Just because someone was willing to meet with you doesn’t mean that they had a desire or an interest to buy. You cannot assume a sale and must thoroughly qualify prospects rather than engage in a “quote and hope” scenario. If the buyer is not qualified (but you don’t know it), the sale wasn’t lost. You never had a shot in the first place.

Throwing proposals at prospects because something’s you believe sales is purely a numbers game and something is bound to stick is not selling; it’s wishful thinking. Sales is an accuracy game, so qualify every time.

2. Failure to develop trust with the buyer.
This occurs frequently but is often more difficult to identify than failure to qualify. Trust-building is more subjective but is extremely important – especially as a differentiator. Be mindful of dress, style, and image; tardiness; available materials; lack of product knowledge; or poor facilitation of the sales process.

Don’t fall short of your buyer’s expectations for trust-building. When you ask an insufficient number of questions, engage only in product and price focused conversations, you erode your credibility. Your buyer’s process may require three bids; just because they asked you for a bid doesn’t mean that they ever planned to buy from you.

3. Failure to uncover the buyer’s perception of value.
Ask specific questions to uncover the prospect’s perception of value. What they see as a problem and what they feel is the ideal outcome. When that doesn’t happen, the buyer experiences no discernible difference between your solution and your competition. That moves the decision to an issue of price. If you only pitch product and price without separating yourself by understanding their objectives and why, lowest price wins. Every time.

You can’t fix the problem until you know what it is. Are you truly experiencing lost sales, or is the actual issue a misunderstanding of who you should be selling to in the first place? Evaluate your performance against these three issues and decide if you’re qualifying, building trust and discussing the buyer’s perceptions of value effectively.