For every success story that I report there are 99 other stories where I have miserably failed. A friend asked me to write about my failures so that we can all learn. So, here it is.
There was a logistics start-up to whom we sold over 20 licenses of a CRM App. After an year they didn’t renew it. They said they are revamping their sales & marketing and that they will come back in 6 months.
They came back to us after another year. They looked at the product again. We went through the sales process as if it was a new prospect. We didn’t rush. Nor did they. It came to the proposal stage. We submitted our proposal. They said the price was too high. We revised it. We revised it again. We revised it the fourth time.
Pause for a moment. What do you think now?
If you think I won the order, you are wrong. I lost it.
Ok, let me break the news.
Finally, on the day we were supposed to get the order, they told us that they are going with another vendor. And they said they were getting a better deal than what we had offered whereas we had finally offered them a price THEY ASKED FOR. Still we lost it.
What this prospect did was that they decided on another CRM product even before calling us. They used us to reduce the price of our competitor, the world’s #1 CRM platform. We had no clue of this till we lost it.
This is not a one-off case. Customers are getting intelligent. Truth is you can’t win all the deals. Also, not all the customers will go with the world’s #1 CRM Platform.
What we need to do is this: Qualification. During this stage the prospect should convince us why they want to buy our product.
- Don’t get carried away by what your prospect says.
- Qualify. Qualify. Qualify.
- Don’t submit your proposal without knowing who your competitors are.
- Walk away from the deal early if you think there is no compelling reason for the prospect to buy from you.
- Get the commitment of the prospect’s top management.
- Convince them to buy in phases. You will know if you are being used.