Your job is to win every single sale.
Losers say, "You can't win them all."
Winners say, "I want to win them all. What can I improve so that we improve our win rate?"
If you are a wolf class Sales Manager, VP of Sales, or a sales professional, you already know you can win the big deals you want to win - you just have to want to win badly enough.
In today's business world, improving corporate culture often equates to extra pats on the back, receiving a gold star for every sale and a decreased focus on winning. What ever happened to the sales team simply doing the job they were hired to do?
The sales manager's job is to win sales using the best combination of sales systems, selling methodology and salespeople.
Winners take credit for their wins and their losses.
When you lose a sale (large or small), you must immediately autopsy to identify what went wrong, learn from it, and improve. Your job is to continuously improve. Your job is to never lose for the same reason twice. Your job is to own your losses as much as your wins.
If you disagree with what I am saying, you likely live in a fat-profit world where your brand does all of the selling (or you are clueless). Fat profit companies often have legions of salespeople stealing credit from the brand. Most of these salespeople are paid way too much for the job they are doing, which means they are wasting company money.
When a rep loses a big deal...
A recent blog post, "To Build Or Kill, That Is The Question" by Keenan "A Sales Guy" hooked my attention. Keenan said,
"When a rep loses a big deal, the first the thing the sales leader needs to understand is the salesperson is absolutely bummed out. They are devastated. The sales person is acutely aware of the impact the loss has on them, their quota, their commission check, and their bank account. You piling on and letting them know how bad it is, isn’t helping. It brings no value. You’re just pounding them into the ground for no good reason. When we beat up salespeople for losing a bid deal, it’s more about us and our frustration. It’s about our ego. It’s about our bank account. It’s about our agenda and that’s not fair."
Keenan's advice is spot on if you are dealing with a wolf class sales rep, but this is a very dangerous assumption. If you hire and nurture the sales rep who is constitutionally incapable of identifying ideal prospects, engaging in a real dialogue, delivering the value proposition, and closing the deal, then you have asked for the very results that you are getting.
When a sales rep loses a big deal, the most important question you must ask yourself is...
Is the sales rep a true sales wolf or not?
This is not a trivial question and I am not looking for your gut reaction here. I have met way too many proud Sales Managers and Sales VPs who think they can pick talent. Most are bullshitting themselves. The rest have ego issues.
A salesperson is either a sales wolf or they are not. It is as simple as that.
The ONLY way to truly know the potential of a salesperson is to objectively measure their Behaviors, Motivators, Acumen, and Skills using a valid sales personality and aptitude test. A salesperson or sales candidate is either wired as a sales wolf or they do not. Sales wolves have the potential to deliver in the top 20th percentile on a consistent basis.
Therefore, the only kind of companies who allow sales posers to lose big deals are the losing kind. Is this your company? If you hire and maintain sales posers who cannot close big deals and it happens repeatedly, there is a problem.
The problem is you.
Go wolf class or go home.
No human being was put on this earth to be average. Every person has potential. Every company has potential. Is that potential being maximized or squandered in your company?
No company I own or advise is going to settle for average salespeople. Nor should you. Do not even bother trying to fix salespeople who are not wired to sell; your competitor will not.
When it comes to hiring and retaining the best salespeople, go wolf class or go home. Let your competitors hire the "average" salespeople. <--Click to Tweet
Give your competitors hell - only hire the very best sales talent possible and leave the posers for them.
Should you really fire the sales rep who loses the big deal?
Not if they are a true sales wolf.
If the sales rep is a true "wolf class" sales professional and they have a completed sales personality test to prove it, help them autopsy and fix their mistake. You can fix pretty much anything but a salesperson who is not wired to sell. When a true sales wolf loses a sale, it is because of training or a failure in the selling process.
If you have a salesperson on your team who is not wolf class, you need to help them find opportunities elsewhere.