How to deal with lost sales opportunities

Whether your average sales cycle is one month or a year, it’s hard to deal with that ‘No’ when you’ve invested so much trying to win the deal, especially when your sales quota seems like an impossible task. We lose far more than we win, that is inevitable. What’s important is how you deal with the lost opportunities. Here’s my advice.

The business said no, not your prospect

It’s the company that rejected your product or service, not your contact who has been your champion through to the end, I remember this first and foremost. Build a great relationship with your prospect and when they become a real advocate of your offering, there is a good chance they will introduce your product or service at another company in their next role, this has happened to me many times. Leave a lasting impression on your sales prospect no matter the outcome.

It can be disappointing for your prospect too

You didn’t get your opportunity this far down the line without the help of your prospect, they were invested in the idea as well and it can often be just as disappointing for them to hear ‘no’ as well, so try not to be despondent. The easy thing is to strike your prospect off the list, pretend it didn’t happen and move on. But if you respond in a positive way to their feedback, it lets them know this wasn’t all about the ‘sale’ but building a great relationship with them. Follow up with a written response thanking them for their time. Respond in a supportive and positive way and it will make you and them feel better.

Share what you learnt from loosing the opportunity 

The simple fact is, we can learn far more from what we lose than from what we win if we choose too. It can take some strength to have an honest conversation with yourself about what you could have done differently, however, if you can analyze the journey you went on and spot the areas you could improve next time you’ll learn from it and it will help you win more deals in the future. Share those learnings with your team, then this lost opportunity becomes a positive training experience everyone benefits from.

Your prospect has never been more connected to your future prospects

Making sure your sales prospect has a great experience with you from start to finish gives them plenty of reason to talk to friends about you which can lead to new relationships and sales opportunities in the future. One fire might be out but it could ignite a new one. I believe I’m never selling to one person, I’m always selling to the world. 

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It’s never lost, it’s just not the right time

Most buying decisions work in cycles and there is the chance that your product or service can be reviewed again for implementation at some point in the future. Treat every opportunity closed as the start of a new opportunity cycle. Ask your sales prospect for timelines on when they are likely to review their decision and pencil in a date for you to connect again. There are many times in my career I have been told ‘no’ or ‘not now’ and with persistence, I end up winning the deal later down the line. Never give up

Connect with me @TomLavery7 I would love to hear your thoughts


2 thoughts on “How to deal with lost sales opportunities

  1. Losing a sale is never easy, but I usually spend more time at that customer to find a way to position my self for the next sale. Often I look in the mirror, but I always talk with the prospect one-on-one to perform a post-mortem and determine next steps

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