History repeats itself and those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them! You've heard that one before, yet may not have thought about that old history lesson in relation to your selling career. Well, the value of this lesson has a lot more to do with sales than you might think... let's take a look.
There are great lessons to learn and strategies to build when you understand the conditions under which you win and those under which you lose. Regularly going through a "win, loss" review will allow you to understand where you typically succeed and where you typically fail and why. Once you understand the conditions that drive the outcome of your selling activities you'll know better how to respond to any given situation. You can build new strategies to support your efforts and increase your percentages!
A company we work with did a six month "win, loss" review (history) on price quotes issued to prospects who they had not previously done business with. They believed that quickly responding to requests for price quotes demonstrated a high degree of responsiveness and would win them business. They knew they were not winning often, but were shocked when they found out their efforts had only gotten a 4% return (4% of quotes yielding orders). By looking at history it became quite apparent that they needed to change their strategy of "demonstrating responsiveness". Not only was it not working but it was costing a lot of staff time and resources.
The new strategy, based on what they learned from looking at their history, was to call every request for pricing first and ask questions about the request. They found that most of the time it ended up being a "price check", but also found that through making a personal contact they actually got information and ended up closing 15% of the opportunities instead of 4%. They also were able to identify that most of the "wins" were not being serviced by one vendor exclusively. So, learning from this historical record drove them to ask the question "how many vendors are you currently buying from?" When they got the answer "one" they knew it was unlikely they would win and drove them to ask more questions to qualify the opportunity better.
This ends up being a clear example of "learning from history and not repeating the mistakes of the past!" Learn from history and you'll be winning more of your opportunities. We'll cover some other "history lessons" in upcoming posts... happy hunting!