5 Reasons You’re Being Passed Over in Favor of a Competitor
When asked why you lost a new business opportunity, how often do you hear it was price? It’s also not uncommon for your products or services to get the blame. Another popular justification for the loss: the prospect had a personal relationship that led them to a competitor. Truth be told, there are many factors that influence a purchase decision. Relying on subjective feedback from the sales team or making assumptions based on small bits of information often fails to establish the real reasons deals are won or lost.
Continuing sales practices that you think are effective or exhausting time and resources implementing changes that have little impact on improving sales effectiveness are counter-productive. This makes the Sales Win Loss Analysis a valuable tool for duplicating successes and learning from missteps.
In addition to the factors above, here are five considerations that could be contributing to your sales losses:
1. Market Perception: Be honest. Do you really know how your target audience views your company? Are your products and services in sync with the evolving needs of the market? We routinely speak to decision makers who are unaware of or misinformed about a company’s full product or service capability. This may make your competitors more attractive. We’ve even interviewed decision makers who indicate that companies can come across as “too big” as a result of overselling their work with larger brands. Start looking for common themes and refocus sales pitches on the most appreciated benefits of partnering with your organization.
2. Chemistry: Imagine the following scenario: your salesperson enters a meeting and gives what he describes as his “best pitch ever” – great questions, positive interactions. But then you fail to win the contract. Cleary, the decision maker didn’t share the same view of the meeting. Now you’re left scratching your head. What happened? The connection prospects have with your people (or the competitor’s people for that matter) can greatly influence the purchase decision. Do your salespeople come across as caring only about a paycheck or are they viewed like trusted advisors? Identify the qualities of your best sales people and then train other team members to become winners.
3. Cultural Fit: If your company were an prominent actor, who would it be? Do prospective customers prefer to work with Tom Hanks or Will Smith? In certain industries, such the agency space, creativity and playful personalities are valued. On the other hand, sales people in other industries are expected to be more formal in their approach. When possible, try to align your pitch team and approach with the prospect’s culture, without, of course, trying to be something you’re not.
4. Geographic Desirability: Location, location, location. This doesn’t just apply to real estate; it’s also factor with decision makers. In some circumstances, making the final decision between two seemingly well-matched competitors comes down to accessibility. But where you are located can also have a negative impact. We once conducted an interview where the decision makers focused on the atmosphere of a competitor’s headquarters, which created a perception at odds with what they wanted. Of course, you can’t just move or change your office to suit prospective customers, but knowing what geographic preferences the prospect may have can help you decide how to approach the discussion.
5. Prevailing Client Sentiment: Prospects are paying close attention to how well you treat your existing customers. Are you highlighting customer quotes or testimonials, describing your customer feedback process (like Net Promoter Score®), and sharing positive trends in satisfaction or retention? Many of our clients have realized significant improvements in close rates by showcasing client success stories throughout the sales process.
The key takeaway: Understand what prospective buyers think of your offering and its benefits. Doing so enables you to refine your approach and better align with the needs of the market.
Whether it’s uncovering market perception, assessing your value proposition, identifying effective lead generation strategies, gathering competitive intelligence, or reviewing sales team performance – reflecting on the specific reasons you win or lose deals is a worthy endeavor.
To learn more about how our Sales Win Loss Analysis program can help you gather actionable intelligence to improve sales results, contact us today.