Why We Lose Deals

Seth Godin posted this a few weeks ago. It’s a brilliant description of why sales people lose deals.

In it he hits on why prospects lie to sales people.  I highlighted the money quote.

“We’ve decided to hire someone with totally different skills than yours…” and then they hire someone just like you, but more expensive and not as good.

“We’re not going to buy a car this month, my husband wants to wait…” and then you see them driving a new car from that other dealer, the one with the lousy reputation.

“I’m just not interested…” and then you see the new RFP, one you could have helped them write to get a more profitable and productive outcome.

People lie to salesmen all the time. We do it because salespeople have trained us to, and because we’re afraid.

Prospects (people like us) lie in many situations, because when we announce that we”ve made the decision to hire someone else, or when we tell the pitching entrepreneur we don’t like her business model, or when we clearly articulate why we’re not going to do business, the salesperson responds byquestioning the judgment of the prospect.

In exchange for telling the truth, the prospect is disrespected.

Of course we don’t tell the truth–if we do, we’re often bullied or berated or made to feel dumb.

Is it any surprise that it’s easier to just avoid the conflict altogether? Of course, there’s an alternative, but it requires confidence and patience on the part of the seller and marketer.

Someone who chooses not to buy from you isn’t stupid. They’re not unable to process ideas logically, nor are they unethical or manipulated by others. No, it’s simpler than that:

Given what they know and what they believe, the prospect is making exactly the right decision.

We always make our decision based on what we know and believe. That’s a tautology, based on the definition… a decision is the path you take based on what you know and believe, right?

The challenge, then, it seems to me, is to realize that perhaps the prospect knows something you don’t, or, just as likely, doesn’t believe what you believe. Your job as a marketer is to figure out what your prospect’s biases and worldview and fears and beliefs are, and as a salesperson, your job is to help them know what you know.

If you keep questioning our judgment, we’re going to keep lying to you.

Questioning our prospects decisions when they don’t buy from us is our way of not talking ownership. If we are questioning our prospects decision, we’ve failed.  Stop questioning them and question yourself. Where did you go wrong? What did you miss? Why don’t they believe you or what do they know you don’t.

Question yourself, that way you’ll find yourself in few situations where you have to question them.