Friday, 3 December 2010

Lost 2018 FIFA World Cup Bid - Lessons for Selling ?

The UK’s Media tends not to be all that sympathetic to the Selling Profession. But we have had a momentary change of heart over the national disappointment of the failed £15 million pound bid to host the FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament for 2018.

Our national press has been debating whether the ‘slick’ bid of the English bid with its heavyweight personalities and national representatives (Prince William, Prime Minister David Cameron and Super brand and professional soccer player David Beckham) really answered FIFA’s brief. They have argued whether the Sunday Times and Panorama stories of alleged misdoings caused offense with the FIFA committee. Some pundits have suggested that FIFA's decisions had been made well beforehand and the result was a foregone conclusion.

Those in Sales who have lost sales pitches recently and are probably having similar analysis of what went ‘wrong’ in a lost pitch. Hopefully their analysis is not quite the "Blame fest-bloodbath" our media are undertaking.

Today more and more Salespeople are invited to jump through the hoops of RFQ/P ( request for Quotes Proposals) , shortlisting & attending a beauty parade type presentation which is not unlike appearing in the Dragons’ den or before X factor’s Svengali, Simon Cowell.

A salesperson's company may not have invested £15 million pounds or had a project whose duration was some three years yet the disappointment of a lost bid will echo David Beckham's sentiments yesterday .

" When you work so hard at something and don't get anything it is disappointing and crushing"

Beckham will bounce back and so sales people should adopt a positive mental attitude.

Sales teams occasionally conduct debrief sessions with prospective or former customers by phoning to request a meeting about the circumstances related to losing business.

Unfortunately, for many reasons, the information they're given is often flimsy and uninformative, and is frequently "sanitised" by the interviewee to avoid ill-feeling or uncomfortable conversations, making it essentially useless.

Yet Sales managers can gain a wealth of information through a complete understanding of the reasons for lost business. Knowledge about the losses can lead to new sales strategies and product improvements that can increase the rate of success. A thorough understanding of failures can also help sale managers avoid unsuccessful strategies and better develop sales leads.

Failure to Understand the Reasons for Lost Business
Sifting through lost business reports , we can often find that these reports generate an incomplete understanding of the reasons for lost business and this may create inaccurate perceptions that are unhelpful in improving sales strategies.

For example, a singular focus on poor capacity / limited resources reasons for lost business may lead to a strategy of expansion that does not address important secondary reasons for lost business. Lack of capacity or client's perception of our capacity may just be the easiest and most comfortable excuse offered by customers, when in fact, lack of choice / product range or poor service quality may ultimately cause Buyers to choose other offerings from competitors.

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study
Sales managers need the feedback that hard data on lost business provides. Sales managers often rely on anecdotal information about the success or failure of particular sales initiatives—usually the most recent experience—rather than analysis of accumulated data.

Even good sales strategies are not always successful and a short-term and narrow focus on failures may lead to unnecessary changes in sales strategies.

Accumulated information and long-term trends provide the best guides to understanding the reasons for success and failure.

In the next post we will look at a different approach to lost business.

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