Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Learning From Lost Sales Opportunities

As a keynote speaker who was selected to give over fifty presentations this year (and 600 speeches over my career), the "no's" can still be disappointing.  Sales is the hardest part of any career, and the ups and downs of selling can be interesting. As a career sales person (before I was a speaker), I am okay with rejection.  You will not win them all, and to get to success you have to have some losses. 

However, in this business there are times you talk with a meeting planner and you get excited by the vibe of being part of their conference.

After having booked many speakers on the planning side and having been a speaker for nearly a decade, I fully understand how these things go. I am the first person to say that choosing a speaker is hard work for a committee and if I am not the right fit, I never worry about it.... as I know the attention that planners and committees put into finding the ones that can have the right impact on their audience.  

About once a year I lose a deal that makes me sad.  It is usually because I enjoyed the personality of the people on the committee or the planner and want to work with them in making their conference more engaging.  

"No" is so final, and most groups do not revisit the same list of speakers the following year, so a loss can seem so final. While not all deals make me sad if I am not selected, sometimes the loss is my fault (usually that I did not do a good job of painting a visual picture of the committee as to who I can impact their event).

Take loses in stride and make notes about what you could have done differently.  In working with clients who want to increase sales I am shocked how few analyze their lost sales.  Too many move on without reflection. To improve your sales you must be relentless about learning and accept your failures.  Discovering your strengths and weaknesses has to be a lifetime commitment and part of every deal (win or lose).

Recently I had a loss that stung (it happens once a year, so it was bound to show up).  Having researched this unique industry I was sure that my message would have "wowwed" this audience, but alas it wont happen in 2016.  Yet I learned so much exploring their business area that I found some new ways that my keynote can have an impact on the retail sector (something I had not thought much about in the past).  The enthusiasm I now have to work with local independent retail clients is exciting and this experience will allow me to change up how I position parts of my message about being engaged in your community.

So is a loss a loss?  Not if you can learn from it or you discover new markets who will benefit from your product or service.  Inspiration and information are powerful tools that sales people should be uncovering in every lost opportunity.  Don't cry about a sale that goes to a competitor, make it your muse.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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