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Posted by Phil Richardson

Why you’ll never know what your real sales figures should be.

Almost by definition good sales people don’t look for why they haven’t got a sale.

That’s not because they don’t care or that they have an ego that won’t acknowledge they haven’t “won”.  It’s just that true sales people understand that they will lose some, and as such they don’t tend to dwell on the ones that got away.   They just get on with the next opportunity.

And of course it’s not true of everyone but usually it’s that tenacity and ability to keep driving forward that makes sales people how they are and good at what they do.

But what about you as their manager?   What’s your role in this?   Are you just there to corral the team, subscribe to the ‘plenty more fish’ edict or are you there to help them close more and to bring theirs and your figures up.

In increasingly tight and crowded markets, more Sales Managers are looking to get into the ‘details’ of WHY sales aren’t closing and IF there was anything that could have been done differently to get a different result next time.

They know their team can sell, but with more pressure coming from above to deliver in increasing tight spaces, they are looking more deeply at the sales that got away and asking why.

By using Sales Loss Analysis techniques, capturing real time feedback from their prospects, Sales Managers are learning what their teams are, or aren’t doing, that is making the difference.

And it’s not to “trip up” their staff or question their feedback, nor is it to there to give them stick to hold over their money winners – but rather to see if there was something – anything – that could have brought the cash in to them and not a competitor.

As each market gets increasingly crowded, that choice often means the power is with the buyer and so deals can be won or lost on the smallest of details – details that you, as their boss, will never get to hear about.

Obviously “personal factors” often don’t get fed back, things like your sales people turning up late, or having the wrong approach to the conversation.

But also, it might be that sales person shouldn’t have been there in the first place because the lead wasn’t qualified enough, or the sale was never yours to win because your competitors are explaining their value better than you are.

Either way you’ll not get the sale and have no idea why.

If you don’t know the core issue – you can’t fix it.

The likelihood is that the only feedback you’ll get is the salesperson’s reading of the situation, (and they themselves may not really know why they didn’t get it) and as such you can ONLY chalk it up to another one that got away.

Now in theory as their manager you could get in touch with the lost prospect but the reality is for most, they simply don’t have the time and even if they did the likelihood is that they won’t actually get the information they need.

Even in today’s high-pressure world most people don’t want to “drop someone in it”.  So even if the sales person was really late or your competitors just handled the whole process better, you are far more likely to get the feedback that “it just wasn’t the right time”.

And whilst that is touching, it’s actually not that helpful to the Sales Manager who is trying to deliver.

That’s why if you are genuinely serious about getting the edge on your competitors you need someone outside your organisation to make the calls.

Someone who the prospect can be honest with so you can get the feedback you need to enable you to make the changes.

Having that real-time information is a powerful tool to help you develop your team.   And whilst for some it might involve an uncomfortable conversation, your best sales people will thank you for helping them earn more.

And as an added extra, what we often find is that in a good percentage of the cases, this follow up call from a third party has reignited a deal that had previously considered a closed conversation.

If a Sales Manger’s role is to get their team to deliver sales in volumes, then it is critical to get clear and learn from, why sales are not closing.

No sales team ever hits 100% but with a proper sales loss analysis you can arm your team with the actual information that is making a difference at the point where it comes to the handshake.

Adding the Sales Loss Analysis to your process would give you the visibility of what is really happening in your market and it might just give you the edge you need.

If you’d like to chat through, what’s involved and how we do it then contacts us or give us a call on 0115 882 0116.

“It was the first time we had ever gone back to lost prospects and the results were illuminating. Since getting the results, we have updated our marketing, some of the markets we targeted, the focus of the sales staff and our sales collateral. Benchmarking against our competitors was incredibly eye opening. We will certainly be doing this with every lost deal in the future.”

Sales Director – Bolt

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