We’ve all experienced the thoughts going through your head when reflecting on a lost sales opportunity. I could have said this… I should have done that… I would have… Thinking about what you could have, should have and would have done is enough to drive anyone crazy!

However, what if you could leverage these reflective moments and thoughts to propel your sales efforts? It may sound counterproductive but to discuss a loss or a failure and analyzing what went wrong, actually can foster improvement and collective learning.

There are many benefits of analyzing lost sales opportunities.  Why? It encourages learning based on exploration rather than blame. It equips you with valuable knowledge and experience you can utilize in future appointments.

We’ve outlined a few simple steps that provide a framework of questions to prompt reflection and get you into the right mindset.

Revisit Your Ideal Customer Definition
This step helps us reevaluate the most important pieces of making a sale: your ideal customer. Common mistakes salespeople make when developing a script or sales process is thinking they know the ideal customer, often referred to as a buyer persona. While the development of a persona is a one-time event, they are meant to be refined and evolved if they’re expected to be effective. For example, as you consider your lost sales opportunity, here are a few things to examine:

  • How would you define this persona?
  • Did they match with other successful sales opportunities?
  • If not, why did you go after this opportunity?
  • How did you personalize your communication with the client?
  • What, if anything, could you have done differently in the appointment?

No one likes losing a sale, but it creates an excellent opportunity to collect additional information about your ideal customers. This analysis aids in re-evaluating any areas in your sales pitch or presentation that may need further development.

Retrace Your Steps
This is pretty simple. Simply retrace the steps in your sales process to find where exactly the sales opportunity began to break down. Your process is meant to keep you organized, focused and prepared for anything. Consider is you followed your process in its entirety. If not, why? What worked and what did not work? Did this opportunity take longer to close than usual? Did this opportunity stall at any particular stage in your process? How and when were objections addressed? Did you consider other factors such as price or competition might be involved? These kinds of questions can take you down the rabbit hole, but it’s extremely valuable. Once you understand your buyer and where they fell off in your sales process, it’ll be easier to identify why.

Understanding Why
As you start developing a clearer picture of what went wrong, it’s critical to take it a bit further. Often, it requires reading between the lines of what your buyer says and what they mean. Think about the nonverbal cues or unsaid objections you may have missed during the meeting.

Also, think about the need. Do you know why they are interested in exploring your product? Did something change? What are their long-term and short-term goals? What about timing or price? Did you instill a true sense of urgency? Was the buyer emotionally ready to do business with you? As far as pricing, was there a way to offer them a different product, or was there a better way to position the value? Don’t get about features. Did you spend too much time talking about what your product solution is instead of focusing on what the client can do or accomplish with it? Did you tell a compelling story about how your product recommendation makes your client’s life better?

Moreover, then, of course, there’s poor qualification. Did you skip any part of the sales process? Did you misunderstand or misinterpret their qualification? These considerations will encourage you to examine the “why” and take a more thoughtful approach the next time you hear one of the objections above.

As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, but with mindful reflection, you’ll be better equipped to spot and combat the objections if they arise in the future. For more sales tips and professional development tools – contact Agent Pipeline at 800-962-4693.