One of the worst things that can happen to you as a sales person is a surprise loss.

Your job as a sales person is to be in control of your sale:

  • To know what’s going on in the sale,
  • To influence it to a close for you if possible ,
  • To get out early if the sale is unwinnable.

A surprise loss means that you wasted valuable sales time. Time that could have and should have been used towards better quality sales deals.

A surprise loss not only takes away valuable time from other deals but it also damages your reputation. You will have a hard time getting bigger and better territories and products to sell if management thinks that you can’t be counted on to make the sale.

To avoid surprise losses, you must possess what Napoleon Hill called Accurate Thinking in his book "The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons":

Accurate thought involves two fundamentals which all who indulge in it must observe. First, to think accurately you must separate facts from mere information. There is much ‘information’ available to you that is not based on facts. Second, you must separate facts into two classes; namely the important and the unimportant, or, the relevant and the irrelevant.

Accurate Thinking – Seeing Things as They Really Are

To avoid surprise losses then, you must be able to see your sales as they really are. Not as you wish they might be. Not as you fear they might be.

Once you have committed yourself to a sale, you must always be evaluating the information you are getting from and about your prospect, and you must be willing to walk away from a sale when it becomes clear that is unwinnable.

Some people may say that all sales are winnable. That is not realistic however. That is not accurate thinking.

Every potential sale is best for one or two competitors likely to be considered and less than optimal for others.

And the truth about your prospects is that they usually figure this out.

You need to always be asking yourself the main question that your prospect is asking.

And that is, "Is my product the best fit for what they are looking for?"

This is the paramount question that is being asked by every prospect in every sale you engage.

To help you accurately answer this question, you should also be asking both of yourself (and  more importantly of your prospect) " What is the real problem that the prospect wants to solve?

Prospects Don’t Tell You Everything You Need To Hear

Prospects don’t always tell you this.

They usually tell you what product they want.

In other words, they think that they know how to solve their problem by purchasing a product like one you sell, which is why they are talking to you.

So they tell you what they need to purchase – they don’t normally volunteer a discussion about the problem(s) that motivated them to want a product like the one you sell.

To be able to accurately assess if you are the best fit for your prospect, you need to know the precise nature of the problem(s) they desire to solve.

My Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program can help you get good at the questioning skills required to determining the true nature of the problem that your prospect wishes to solve.

When you know this and you know your competitors well, you can accurately decide whether or not you should pursue a sale to a close or not.

And when you do, you will avoid time draining and career damaging surprise losses.

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Sales Lessons from a Painful Loss