Remember I told you about Jill Konrath’s Selling to Big Companies 2 weeks ago. This lady is just amazing. I couldn’t resist posting the whole of this article on Translator Power. As you can see, it’s both deeply insightful and highly practical. If you really want to sell to big companies, I urge you to rush to her website and religiously listen to everything she says, because she knows what she’s talking about! And it all applies perfectly to the Marketing (or in this case, the Selling) of Translation Services
How to Stop Losing Sales
by Jill Konrath
Have you ever felt that your product or service was an absolute perfect fit for a prospective customer then found out later that you lost the business?
If you’re like most sellers, you’ve probably been in that situation more than once. (I have!) Losing a big sale is downright painful. You may also have an overpowering urge to blame the decision makers for making a “stupid” choice or for their failure to see why they should change now.
I’d like to suggest an alternative: turn your losses into learning opportunities. Use post-mortem debriefings to figure out how you might have contributed to the lost sale. That’s what top sellers do. They assume total accountability for the lost business and then try to figure out how to ensure it never happens again.
The key to learning from your losses is to ask yourself tough questions. Then, be brutally honest with your answers. If you let your ego get in the way, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistake again. Rack your brain to get beyond the obvious answers.
Use the questions below to jump start your thinking and give you insights into how you might improve.
General Overview Questions
Start by analyzing the whole sales process. Make sure you notice what you did well too, because that’s also imperative to your long-term success.
* When did you start to sense something was amiss?
* In your discussions, what did your customer like? Want to achieve? Eliminate?
* Where did you encounter resistance, objections and stumbling blocks?
* What actions could you have taken to prevent these obstacles?
Losses to “No Decision”
If your prospective customer decided to stay with the status quo, it’s because they didn’t see enough value in making a change. Ask yourself:
* What could you have done to help your prospect better understand the ramifications of staying with the status quo?
* How could you learn more about your prospect’s problems, business issues, goals and
* Did your prospect have enough proof sources to assure him of the business outcome?
* How could you have helped you prospect better understand the value of changing now?
Losses to a Competitor
If you lost to a competitor when you think you should have won, for some reason your message didn’t work. Ask yourself:
* What was your prospect’s primary decision criteria? Based on this, how did you stack up against your competitors?
* What could you have done to maximize your strengths, minimized your weaknesses and better differentiated your offering?
* Did you miss any vital piece of information that caused you to lose the sale?
* What strategy did your competitor use to convince the prospect to choose his company over yours?
Self-analysis is a starting point. If you’re brave, ask your customer for direct feedback. You may be amazed at what you learn. If other people from your company were involved, debrief the situation with them. Brainstorm with your colleagues, friends and peers. Try to figure out what you could have done that would have let to a different outcome – one where you were the winner.
What do you do if you’re totally stumped? Sometimes that happens because you literally lack the knowledge and expertise to figure it out. Other times it’s a challenge to step into another person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective.
When that occurs, it’s imperative to seek outside advice. Talk to an experienced sales professional.
Read books or listen to CDs that focus on the sales challenges you’re facing. Search online for resources to improve your sales savvy and skills.
But don’t give up! The answer is out there. You just don’t know it yet. Plus whatever you learn is a chance for you to get better. That’s the true value of this exercise.
Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into corporate accounts, shorten sales cycles and win big contracts. She is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events.
For more article like this, visit http://www.SellingtoBigCompanies.com/. Get a free Sales Call Planning Guide ($19.95 value) when you sign up for the Selling to Big Companies e-newsletter.
P.S. Click here to download your copy of “The Insider Guide to The Strategic Marketing of Translation Services“, the book no translator/interpreter in his/her right mind should even think of going without :-). Or maybe you’d rather take a look at the Free Preview first? This is the book you’ve been waiting for so impatiently: it’s here NOW. So why wait any longer…!?
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