That expression popped into my head as I was watching a replay of a missed goal in a recent Euro 2012 soccer game. It reminded me of a popular sitcom that aired in the mid-1960s, “Get Smart.” In the show, a bumbling secret agent had a recurring line: “Chief, I missed it by that much.”
Sometimes we miss a sale by “that much,” too. It can be frustrating, especially when we feel certain the sale is going to go through. So, what should you do when you miss a sale by “that much”?
First, ask for feedback. There is nothing wrong with asking a prospect why they didn’t choose your product, service or solution. But many salespeople are afraid or hesitant to ask for this feedback. However, it can be as simple as making a telephone call or sending an email and saying, “I’m always looking to improve. Would you mind sharing with me what influenced your final decision?”
If you do decide to ask for feedback, resist the natural temptation to respond with a rebuttal to your prospect’s answer. Instead, thank them for their candor and look for ways to stay in touch. In some cases, you won’t get feedback, so take a few moments and evaluate what you could have done differently. I often find that when a deal doesn’t go my way it’s a result of not asking enough of the right questions early in the sales conversation.
However, in some situations, you can ask all of the right questions, present the perfect solution and effectively deal with your prospect’s objections but still not get the sale. It disappointing when it happens but it’s a fact of life…and business. Here’s my perspective on that issue: