When you are rejected in sales ask yourself ‘why’ several times. Probing beyond each reason or excuse helps uncover blocks, hurdles, and obstacles that are below the conscious level of awareness. The initial answer to the ‘why’ question usually masks a deeper cause.
It is easy to quickly accept a seemingly obvious explanation why your client didn’t buy from you. For example, you know that price is often cited as an objection. But is it the complete reason? There may be a reservation or two lurking beyond the stated rejection. Most sales people ask ‘why’ just once. This is a good beginning but not the whole story. Going beyond will provide you with an advantage; a better understanding of yourself and what you can do to improve.
A little mental work is required to keep framing progressively more targeted ‘why’ questions. You will quickly get the gist of it.
Q. Why did I lose the RFP bid?
A. I guess the other Company was better.
Q. Why was the other Firm superior?
A. They gave a more convincing proposal.
Q. Why was their presentation more persuasive?
A. What they said resonated with the client.
Q. Why did the prospect respond so positively to the competitor’s pitch?
A. Because the sales person presented an innovative solution the client thought was better aligned with the Company’s new marketing direction.
Once you have a more complete view of why you temporarily failed, you can plan your winning approach to securing future business.
Pursuing the ‘why’ diagnostic line of questioning can be particularly helpful when you experience an outcome that catches you by surprise. Maybe you fully expected to get that sale and you didn’t close. Find out the reason behind the first one. Identify what you will do better next time around.
Sometimes it takes a couple of days for deeper answers to become apparent. Keep gently pushing. Be patient, and supportive of yourself. As you genuinely seek an answer, it will arrive. Continue to actively pursue the truth. Keep asking ‘why’.