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My son would rather fly fish than play Blasters of the Universe, eat an entire trough of ice cream, or even take apart his dad’s Audi S4 engine. So, I figured I best learn.

Although squatting down on a cold river bank, screening for larvae and deciphering a Stonefly from a Cadis larvae wasn’t my first choice of activities, I quickly saw the broader implications of natural selection, how the strongest of the species survive, and how blaming the fish is never a good idea. (I also now realize that my own mother may not have cherished our endless games of Monopoly and Clue).

Why do salespeople lose the big fish? Is it because of price, timing, and budgetary constraints? Or is because we get eaten by bigger or smarter fish? Unfortunately, it’s often the latter.

Here Are Five Reasons You May Have Lost the Deal

#1: You Made It Too Complex
Our brains are busier than ever before. New research shows the average person sees 4,000-10,000 ads per day, checks email over 70 times and switches devices over 500 times in a 24-hour period. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting.

Time is the new currency—and we’re all broke.

Your stressed-out customers simply can’t fully grasp your new, complex offerings. They may be interested in your product, and they may even see the value in it, but they don’t have the bandwidth to understand what you’re selling or why they even need it so they’re wary of making a change.

My advice? Keep your presentation, demos and communications simple and to the point. Offer as few alternative pricing plans as possible. (Three is usually a good number). Check your customers’ social profiles and learn what’s important to them. Focus on the top three features and benefits of your product and never answer a question the customer didn’t ask.

Your customers don’t always have to understand a product in order to buy a product; they just need to know that you understand them and that you’re a trusted, reliable, and honest resource.

#2: You Failed to Set Up a Follow Up
Sales is a series of incremental advances. So, getting the next appointment or moving to the next phase is critical. (Even in a one-call close, top sellers must help their clients imagine the next steps after purchase: How will they take delivery, ownership, etc.? Providing a timeline of future events reduces fear and helps mitigate sales resistance).

In longer sales cycles, many reps say they will “follow up” and then waste time and devalue themselves in the eyes of the customer by chasing them. Yuck! We’ve all been there. You’re far better off booking the next steps than spending hours crafting the perfect email to secure the next meeting after the fact.

Instead, book next steps during your sales call. These may include a demo, social proof, or a meeting with another stakeholder.

When you treat yourself seriously and your product seriously – your customer will too.

#3: You Suffer from Pre-Mature Demonstration Syndrome 
Once sellers become so-called “experts,” we often anticipate customer objections and offer generic solutions. We get so excited about our offering that we stop listening and start selling before uncovering individual buyer needs. I see this happen all the time. New reps, in their innocence and enthusiasm, sell like crazy! Then, several months later, they get smart about their product. Subsequently, they give too much information, overcome objections that weren’t there in the first place and ultimately lose the sale.

Instead, do an in-depth discovery with all the stakeholders before making any kind of product pitch, demo or recommendation. Premature Demonstration kills a deal every time.

#4: You Didn’t Remove Perceived Risk
People would rather make no decision than to make the wrong decision. Your prospects are rarely 100% sure that they’re purchasing the right product from the right person at the right time, regardless of whether they appear confident.

If you ignore your prospects fears, they won’t go away – but your customers will.
Instead, leverage quantitative data and case studies that support your offer. Who said it? What’s the proof? Why should they feel safe?

#5: You Wallowed in Your Last Defeat
Learn from your mistakes and move on!!! Any kind of achievement requires suffering, but there’s a difference between:

  1. Recognizing pain and wallowing in it,
  2. Learning from it and becoming paralyzed by it, and,
  3. Beating yourself up and bucking up

You can lose the deal but NEVER lose the lesson.

Or as my mother once told me, “There’s plenty more fish in the sea.”

Watch my latest video blog here on LinkedIn to learn Three Methods to Stop Blaming the Fish.

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