You can lose an opportunity before you create it. There are several mistakes that can end your chance of winning your prospective client’s business, and if you’re not focused, your first meeting with a prospect can also be your last.
When you cannot convert a first meeting into a second meeting, you have done something wrong. Here are five ways you might lose your opportunity before creating it.
A Lack of Preparation
One way you can lose an opportunity is by failing to prepare for the meeting. If you haven’t read your prospective client’s website, you may have to ask questions you could easily answer on your own. Equally important, do an internet search to find news about the company. Even if you don’t find a trigger event you can speak to, you will know what’s been going on in their world.
Based on the questions you ask, your contact will know whether you did your homework. Without researching your client’s industry to acquire an understanding of its headwinds (challenges) and the tailwinds (opportunities), you will struggle to create value in the sales conversation. A serious consultative salesperson will have done this and more to prepare, including creating a list of hard-hitting questions.
Failure to Create Value in the Sales Conversation
The single vehicle you and I must use to create value is the sales conversation. Unfortunately, many salespeople skip over value creation and focus instead on the value of their solution. Not only can this feel like a pitch, but it also means you are failing to help the client learn what they need to know to improve their results.
A salesperson who is incapable of creating value in the first meeting will lose an opportunity before they can create it. The buyers and decision-makers that grant you a meeting are looking for a salesperson who can help them make the best decision to move forward. Without creating value, your prospective client will be unwilling to provide you with more time.
Underperforming When Compared to a Competitor
In the United States, there are more competitors than necessary in almost every industry. Many salespeople believe the contest is between companies and solutions, but the true competition is between the salespeople competing for the client’s business.
It is not uncommon for a buyer to interview several salespeople before deciding who they want to work with and why. When your competitor offers the client a better sales experience than you, they can knock you out of contention.
You should hate losing more than you love winning. To execute this idea, you must work on developing yourself and your sales approach.
Going Faster than Your Client
When a client gives a salesperson time for a first meeting, they may believe they need to work quickly to position their company and their solution. Salespeople who do this are focused on pursuing their own goals instead of helping the client. Words like velocity and efficiency indicate that you are going faster than your client.
Efficiency should never be treated as more important than effectiveness. Moving too quickly makes your contacts and their stakeholders feel rushed or pressured. When you are in a hurry, your client will move on to another salesperson who is willing to invest the time it takes to help them with their goals and needs. Winning four weeks from now is better than losing today.
A Transactional Approach
Since the last decade, anything that is truly a commodity is now sold on the internet. In the future, it is likely that more simple transactions will find their way to e-commerce. For more complex buying decisions, clients need a consultative sales approach to move forward, and salespeople who use transactional approaches will fail.
Regardless of what you believe, if your client needs a consultative approach and you fail to offer one, you risk losing a deal before you create it. Talking about your company, your clients, and your solution is a transactional approach in modern B2B sales.
A Lack of Expertise and Authority
Decision-makers seek a salesperson with the expertise to help them pursue their goals. In other words, they are looking for someone who knows what they don’t, meaning there is an information disparity between the salesperson and their client. When you cannot fill the gaps in the client’s knowledge and experience, you make it difficult to create an opportunity.
In sales, the foundation of trust is the salesperson’s credibility. This gives their prospective client the certainty they need to be confident in making a decision to do business with one salesperson rather than the competition. If you cannot prove that you know more than your contact, you are unlikely to reach a second meeting, no matter what you document in your CRM.
How to Lose an Opportunity Before Creating It
The number of sales organizations that can get a first meeting, but not a second one is growing. Part of this trend seems to result from several ideas that cause salespeople to fail.
One idea that causes most of these problems is the prioritization of cold outreach and the large increase in pipeline coverage. Another factor is sales leaders who want to speed up the sales conversation and require their sales teams to use transactional approaches.
When we say “do good work,” we are suggesting you should take care of your prospective client and win their business using the only vehicle available, the sales conversation. If you struggle, go here for more help.