Sometimes The Customer Is Not the Right Fit Even When Well Qualified

To increase sales does require finding new customers or having repeat customers engage in repeat business. Yet, sometimes the fit is just not right even if the potential customer (a.k.a. prospect) is qualified by meeting these criteria:

  • Decision maker
  • Need
  • Allocated budget
  • Urgency
  • Commitment

Recently a colleague and I through a strategic alliance presented a statement of work to a small business owner who was very much the the E-Myth decision maker. He was going through a merger and acquisition process without any written strategic business plan.  Actually, he had run his company without any formalized written action plan not to mention the lack of written policies and procedures. Given the depth of this merger, I knew he had already invested thousands of dollars between legal and accounting fees.

Even though he recognized that he should have started months before during the sales presentation, he still did not take action. (My sense is level of commitment is not where he said it was.)

Yes, the financial impact was verbalized as well as several other disconnects specific to his current operations at this meeting. In fact I learned this company was bleeding all over the place and reminded me of Gary Sutton’s chapter in his book Corporate Canaries about how you cannot outgrow losses.  I truly love this gem of a book.

Given that I am not a high pressure salesperson and do follow a pretty solid sales process, I realized that this person is probably not the type of client I truly want. Even when the facts are presented, here is someone who will not take action. And if he does make a decision, he will expect immediate results even though he has sat on the sidelines for several months. Reminds me of the quote about “lack of planning” or “procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

My father who was a professional salesperson told me many years ago that yes it would be nice to earn every sale, but sometimes that simply just does not happen even when you do everything right. This is when you need to reflect on what you could have done if anything else and then let it go as a lesson learned.

Dad’s words are very true and made me recognize once again that my best sales success is with innovative leaders (key word here is innovative) who truly want to change their team’s results. So if you fail to earn a sale (some prefer to use the phrase close a sale) then take the time to honestly review what you did and what you could have done differently. Then move on to that next potential customer with another lesson learned in your sales toolbox.

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