One of the many features of a CRM is identifying why deals in the pipeline are lost. Dispositions like: Closed Lost – Future, Closed Lost – Dark, Closed Lost – No decision, and of course Closed Lost – Price. The idea behind this, I guess, is to be able to explain why a lead that seems to be a good fit didn’t buy from you. The challenge I have with the reasons listed above is two-fold. First, they are far too vague to be of value, and second, I don’t buy into them.
As a sales trainer, and coach I experience 100’s of sales calls a year, and as a consumer/buyer, I am on the receiving end of more than a few sales calls every year. Having listened to and experienced so many sales calls, I can share with you three reasons a deal gets lost that you won’t see in a drop-down box on your CRM.
You took shortcuts
Shortcuts in your sales process, shortcuts in the sales planning process, shortcuts in discovery, shortcuts because it was a referral, and shortcuts because the prospect is giving you buying signals. If you have a well-designed and vetted sales process, you need to follow it all the way through! If you don’t have a detailed process, you should create one. As a side note, I see salespeople let prospects take control of the sales process, which is just another form of a shortcut. Either way, taking shortcuts rarely leads to signed deals, let alone shorter sales cycles.
You made them do too much of the work
Recently I found myself in need of a professional in two different industries. Like many of you, when I need someone with some specific expertise, I often ask my network of colleagues for a referral. In my case, I needed a mortgage broker and an insurance agent, both in niche areas of their respective industries. I reached out to the two referrals given, and much to my dismay, they made it way too tricky to get started. They were sending me emails with forms asking me to respond to several questions they needed to be answered and asking me to qualify myself and make their discovery process easier–for them. After jumping through hoops, neither of them had a real understanding of what I was trying to accomplish or why it was important to me. Fail. I ended up using two completely different people for the services I needed. Interestingly these service providers captured the information they needed via a well-planned and executed phone call. Win. Said another way make it easy for people to do business with you.
You made them chase you
Follow up is the bane of many salespeople’s exitance. And, in my opinion, is a prospect’s minimum expectation. If, as a prospect, I have to remind you of a commitment, ask for something you committed to delivering, or need to get an answer about something, I shouldn’t have to track you down. It seems logical, do what you said you were going to do on or before you said you would do it.