What I learned from a lost sale...

Usually, I learn from my own mistakes, but today I had the chance to learn from someone else...

During coaching today....

I had the chance to sit down with one of my one-on-one clients and her account rep from one of her marketing campaigns.

Based on the review of the reporting, my client and I had concurred that we wanted to discontinue the program. It wasn't producing results and she'd sunk almost $10,000 into the campaign already. When I arrived, the sales rep had showed up to pick up a check and I witnessed my client trying to explain to the rep that she wasn't providing another check because of the total lack of results.

The rep got flustered and told my client that she'd put together some alternative options for the remainder of the contract and scurried out of the building.

Being the Get-It-Done Person I am...

We called the rep to come back in and I advised my client that this would give her a great chance to explain her side, show us how we might have misunderstood the reports, or provide us with a new method of attack to finish the contract and get some results. Then we waited for her to return to the room!

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It was NOTHING like I'd hoped...

There were a handful of mistakes this young woman made that have pretty much sealed the deal in regards to continuing the agreement (i.e.: we won't be unless something major changes), and I thought I'd share them with you, my readers, so you can learn from them and avoid making those same mistakes yourself!

1) Talking Too Much!

My client and I spoke less than 5 of the 25 minutes she was in the room with us.

Every time I tried to contribute, or guide her to help us out, she started talking over me, or through me, and rambled about her experience in marketing, and how she could only lay out the options, it was up to us to pick what we wanted to do.

Which leads to the next big issue....

My client and I spoke less than 5 of the 25 minutes she was in the room with us.

2) Failure to Take Responsibility!

Every time we tried to ask how come certain information wasn't disclosed previously, or what we could do, and even when I tried to let us take some of the potential responsibility of the failure of the campaign so far, she threw her hands up (literally!) and commented how she couldn't make the decisions for us. That we had to make the decisions. She could just lay out options based on our budget.

She stated again and again that they had done everything right, they'd done everything they could, and we'd chosen wrong (to be clear, I wasn't involved in the original contract design. So blaming me was not a great route to go in the first place).

She threw her hands up (literally!) and commented how she couldn't make the decision for us.

3) Incorrect Focus

I tried to get her to talk to me multiple times.

I was ignored almost completely! Despite the fact that my client wasn't saying a word, and letting me drive the conversation (as we'd agreed to prior to calling the rep in), the sales rep continued to ignore me and talk directly to my client.

I can partially understand that since my client was the decision maker. But on the other hand, I'd also have thought that she shouldn't have ignored me quite so much since I was running most of the conversation.

When you're facing two people and need to make the sale, equalize your attention on both.​

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In Summary....

That rep had an incredible opportunity today.

She had the chance to walk in and start with "I noticed you haven't been paying on the contract....there must be a reason for that, would you like to talk about it?" And turn my client into a raving fan by taking a program that is NOT working and making it work.

She made one big mistake (and a handful of smaller ones) that I've made hundreds of times, talking too much! I used to not know how to handle the sale, so instead I just talked and talked and hoped that something I would say would hit the right note with the prospect. 

Whenever someone is refusing to pay on an agreement, it's usually because they don't feel they are getting enough value out of the agreement. This boils down to the price objection all over again!

Learn more about how to handle that Here!

But a good rule of thumb is that you should listen twice as much as you talk when you're trying to make a sale. And talking 85% of the time she was in the room didn't give us a chance to let her know what we were concerned about so she could fix it & win the sale


She chose instead to blame my client and ignore someone introduced as her "practice consultant." Although, again, to be fair, she didn't let me talk much, so I never really got to share why I knew what I was doing or the direction we were headed with the business (see the above paragraph for why that's not really an acceptable excuse). The rep repeatedly made it clear that she'd laid out the options and we'd been the ones to pick it and we couldn't blame her if it didn't work.

The hands-off attitude didn't serve her.

I tell reps again and again that you are supposed to be the expert. Why are we paying you? Because, make no mistake, it was my client's money that paid the woman's commission check. And just going out and FINDING a client isn't worth the commission check I'm sure she made off a $10,000+ sale.

So why did we pay that commission if it wasn't to bring in an expert to help us craft a marketing solution?

The hands-off attitude will never serve you! Take responsibility, take control, plot a new course, save your ship!

Your job is simple....

Every time I bring on a new member to my team, whether it's in-house or out, I let them know that I'm hiring them for their expertise and I want them to bring that to the table. Their job is to help me succeed in an arena that is just outside my expertise.

That's how I view a sales rep as well.

I suppose what disappointed me the most was that for all her claims of being in sales for over a decade, I'd have expected her to have spent more time in training & honing her craft.

She lacked knowledge of how to handle a sale.

She lacked knowledge of how to design a marketing campaign in her chosen field (despite having 2 years in her current field and 16 years in marketing sales in general).

Unfortunately, both of those are resolvable problems. But what I learned from watching her talk is that my client had fallen prey to someone who had no self-respect and no drive to improve. 

And that's a dangerous combination. 

Want to avoid falling into these traps? Need some help? Reach out to Stephanie for a free 10-minute phone chat! No selling necessary, just some discussion to uncover your biggest challenge and provide 2-3 options for how to handle it!