What happens if the buyer says 'no', is that game over?
It's the business development person's biggest nightmare.
You've worked hard on a prospect, put everything into the pitch and proposal, they've ''umm'd'' and ''ah'd''....and they decide against working with you. Gutted. Anybody remotely involved with growing a business knows how that feels and it never gets any easier to hear.
One can only assume then that the reason the vast majority of business development people see this scenario as the end of the road with that particular prospect (and with over 20 years experience involved with, developing and managing sales teams I can officially confirm that is the case), must be the association of rejection that is now linked to them....they don't want to have to face that again from the same prospect.
But that's madness....and it's easiest to demonstrate this by doing something I recommend all business development people do from time to time and that's apply some lateral thought - look at it through the buyer's eyes.
In the event that you were competing for the deal with other companies, it's very rare that a buyer will receive proposals in from businesses trying to sell to them and find that all of them are rubbish, bar the one they choose.
In other words, it is perfectly possible to rather impress a potential buyer and yet still lose out (for now).
In the event that you had proposed a deal with no other suppliers involved and still received the 'no', then here again it may simply not be the right time...or the budget might not be there... but you may have lit the lightbulb in their mind that your solution is worth doing at some point.
In the two examples above, imagine you are the buyer. You'd be rather surprised if the chap/lady (i.e. you!) just disappeared off the planet after you'd had to let them down and yet that's precisely what happens so often in sales.
So, OK you may be asking, if I stick in there, why is there still such an opportunity?
There are numerous reasons:
If the buyer has chosen another supplier, stay close to how that relationship goes. Bearing in mind many buyers still buy on price, what's to say the product or service they went for doesn't actually live up to their expectations? You need to be there to pick up the pieces
If you have taken the time to work out why you didn't get chosen, you can do something about it and re-pitch when the time is right - by definition you'll be stronger for it. Factors such as; price, experience, risk, delivery, capability etc are all in your control...OK they may take time to address but you already know this prospect buys your products/services, so they should be still viewed as a future prospect
People move on. I have worked hard on relationships with potential buyers many times when their current employer policy has precluded them ever working with me (for example 'don't use third parties'), in the knowledge that the same person will probably one day move onto a competitor...and hey presto, it's been me they call for the (in my case) service they wanted previously
The buyer will never truly know they have made the right decision to say 'no' to you. If it's a strong pitch, they will wonder that to themselves openly. Whether they have gone with a competitor or attempted to do it themselves, having the opportunity to bench-mark at some point further down the line could be invaluable for them to analyse the best fit for their business
But the biggest reason by far, is that you are a number of rungs up the 'sales ladder' at the point you hear 'no'. This is a potential buyer of your services/products and whilst they have decided not to work with you now, how on earth does that preclude them from working with you in the future. That's illogical (unless you took the initial news badly and keyed their car on the way out - which we would strongly advise against).
So our advice here at Franklin Wall Solutions is to change your CRM tag for deals you don't win, from 'Lost' or 'Dead', to 'Future Contact' and have a clear plan as to what you'd do differently next time.
The buyer will appreciate it, if you have listened to all the reasons for the 'no' in the first place and done something about them.
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