There’s nothing quite like the feeling of closing a sale. Whether it is a large sale or a small one, salespeople celebrate first and then try to understand why they won so they can replicate their success. There is much more to be learned from losing, however, yet most salespeople do not know how to gather accurate and meaningful information from prospects to learn from their losses.
Salespeople often ask prospects why they lost a deal, but they typically don’t get a straight answer. In fact, according to proprietary sales research data, prospects tell salespeople the complete truth about why they lost less than half the time. In fact, research has shown that salespeople learn the complete and accurate truth about 40% of the time. In other words, in 60% of new business situations, salespeople do not have a complete and accurate understanding of why they lost.
1) Give early notification that you will conduct a Win / Loss debrief (regardless of the outcome of the sale). In order to make the prospect comfortable and illicit honest and, more importantly, actionable feedback, you should let the prospect know early in the sales process that regardless of the outcome, you will be conducting a post-decision Win / Loss debrief call at the end of the process.
2) Schedule a separate Win / Loss debrief call. Do not debrief on the same call as when you hear about a loss. When you hear about a loss, prospects have one goal in mind: to get you off the phone as quickly as possible. Instead, schedule a separate debrief call after you have accepted the loss and let the prospect know that you will not try to change their decision.
3) Use a Win / Loss debrief guide. Research has shown that salespeople who use a Win / Loss analysis debrief questionnaire have a 15% higher close rate than those who do not. Sample Win / Loss debrief guides can be downloaded at Anova Consulting Debrief Guide.
4) Take responsibility. Make sure that you really want candid feedback; prospects will be able to tell if you don’t. Don’t get defensive or angry, don’t debate with the prospect and don’t try to resell the prospect.
5) Probe for specifics. Ask “How do you mean?” or “Say more.” Other great ways of getting candid feedback include asking, “How can I improve on this”, “How can I make it better?” or “Can I get your advice?”
To garner even more candid feedback, you may want to consider having someone else conduct Win / Loss debriefs on your behalf. If you are running a sales team, consider hiring an outside third party to conduct Win Loss Analysis interviews on behalf of your entire sales team.
By implementing a process for conducting better debrief calls, you will unlock a vast source of prospect information which will allow for continuous sales improvement.
Buy From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call to obtain more information on how to best conduct Win Loss Analysis.