"I can't believe YOU were scared."
This is what one of my participants said this week as I was giving a workshop called Closing The Book On Closing The Deal.
I think she felt relieved that I can find myself hesitating too, and I teach this stuff.
I was telling a story where I asked for a debrief call with a prospect where we didn't win the work.
Even the best of the best don't win them all. Us included.
So what should you do when you lose?
A loss should set up your next win.
When you lose, it's an extremely unique time to:
The best part?
The ROI on your time is immense.
These calls rarely take more than 15 minutes.
And, you intensely bond with the decision maker.
(Science: showing your vulnerability and desire to improve is highly connective.)
Here's what to say to get the call:
"Hey, we're really disappointed we didn't win this. I'd really appreciate a 15-minute debrief call so we can learn from this and better serve you going forward. "
You don't have to overthink it. People take these calls nearly 100% of the time.
Here's the perfect structure for the debrief call:
This process is foolproof.
In the small chance someone doesn't agree to the call, you win. You learned the organization doesn't care about the relationship. Good to know, and you can decide if you want to work with them in the future.
But in the very likely chance they'll have the call, you'll get immensely valuable information, deepen the relationship and gain agreement on important follow ups in the future.
So, why did the senior partner say "I can't believe YOU were scared" in our workshop this week?
I had just told a story about how nervous I was making one of these calls.
Hey, none of us are excited about asking for a special call to elaborate on why we are a loser. 😉
You really have to really swallow your pride. It's tough.
But here's the outcome.
These calls have tremendous value.
That organization I called?
They became one of our best clients within a year.
All because I followed the steps above.
Use a loss to create your next win.
I just LOVED Ozan Varol's book, Think Like A Rocket Scientist. He and I have the same publisher and even the same book marketing team. So cool.
We taped several amazing podcast interviews together, mashing up The Snowball System with his Rocket Scientist thinking.
My favorite episode we recorded is a power packed 13-minutes.
Check it out here.
(By the way, can you believe we're already 30 episodes into Season 2? People are really liking the shorter episodes!)
I was working with some senior partners of a consulting firm a few months ago.
One senior leader was lamenting after they put 100s of hours into a proposal he really wanted to win, but found out they last just just two weeks before.
He was still down about it.
I asked him how the debrief call went.
He said: We didn't ask for one.
What a missed opportunity.
(Luckily he loved the model above and asked for a debrief call that day. It was a game changer.)
How does your organization handle losses?
Are losses a dead end?
Or do they set up your next win?