You become a better provider – how, you may be thinking? You know how it is. You just lost an assignment; you lower your head and get angry, disappointed, and feel treated unfairly. Even worse: I have clients who seriously take negative actions toward their clients. For example, a client wrote a letter about how he did not appreciate the loss and would recover the sales costs. But rejection, despite how bad it feels for you as a human being, is the ultimate opportunity for self-reflection, product revision, and offer improvement, which only increases your conversion chances with other clients. How will you get better if not through the feedback of clients?
You lose the assignment, but not your relationship – yes, I also regularly lose an assignment. In addition to self-reflection, this is the ultimate time to proactively seek feedback. The better feedback you receive, the stronger your relationship is! Apparently, your client finds it important that you get better, because they are taking the time to provide you with an explanation. You could even see it as a soft buying signal. Therefore, receiving feedback should be a priority. I often see clients lapse into ‘never mind’. No, go over there! Go get extensive feedback and ask lots of questions. You will earn respect. You will connect more than ever, and it may even lead to being awarded an assignment in the future.
Up and cross selling to other services remains possible – once you sit down with your client, it may appear that the contract was not awarded for your offer A, but who is to say that there are no chances for your offer B? Better yet: if your relationship is good enough, the client may even be happy that he can let you offer something other than what you have lost. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask ‘for who else’ or ‘with what else’ you can be of service.
Always close with a follow-up contact – you are there and you have received feedback, and that is where it ends! Okay, but make sure you close with a follow-up action. Always ask one of the following two closing questions: ‘what needs to happen so that we have a chance again?’ A softer version is: ‘how long from now can I challenge whether you, as a client, are getting everything you can out of the chosen competitor?’ Losing is a part of sales, too.
Frits Willem Bakker