American author and choreographer Twyla Tharp said it best: "Ultimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways." This is a principle that all business-to-business (B2B) sales people should follow. When one of your B2B sales leads rejects your offer -- or you otherwise experience a loss -- you should take a few steps back to review what happened. Even though you didn't make a sale, you can still learn from the experience and use this knowledge to optimize your future sales efforts.
No two prospects have the exact same needs. If you failed to generate a sale, perhaps it was because you didn't address his or her specific needs. While some needs are obvious, such as product quality, guarantee, customer service, delivery date, etc., others are more discreet. So, go back and review your scenario to determine whether or not you really addressed the prospect's needs.
According to a study conducted by Reilly Sales Training, more than one-third of salespersons believe they inadvertently give prospects a reason to choose a competitor's product or service over their own. Granted, you probably don't directly advertise your competitors during sales calls, but you may shift them elsewhere. To keep prospects interested in your own product or service, you need to identify your sales leads' needs and then explain how your company can address those needs.
A sales call shouldn't be a one-sided conversation. If you spend all of your time talking, prospects won't have the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns; thus, you're left to speculate regarding what he or she wants. If you've experienced a rejection, maybe it's because you didn't listen to the prospect, and truly understand their challenges. When calling prospects, ask questions and give them time to talk. The more you know about the prospect, the better you can pitch your product or service.
When analyzing your loss, review the persons whom to whom you spoke and whether or not they are directly involved in the respective company's buying decisions. Statistics show that nearly half a dozen different decision makers on average are directly involved in the buying process. If you only spoke to a single prospect, chances are you missed the mark in this regards.
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Rejections are bound to occur in B2B sales -- and that's okay. As long as you learn from these rejections, you can continue to grow and improve your operations.