“The other company has a better understanding of our business…” That was the feedback my connection was told when he asked for feedback for a deal he was sure his company would win.
I asked him what they meant by that and he said he didn’t ask. (That’s a missed opportunity right there!) It’s understandable though because it took courage to ask his initial question in the first place. Most salespeople/ business owners don’t bother, either because they don’t like receiving bad news or they have now moved on to focus on fresh opportunities.
The feedback he got: “The other company has a better understanding of our business…” could be a red herring- it’s an easy get out statement. Or it could legitimately be that they felt the other company has a better understanding.
Either way we need to find out more. Let’s say it’s a red herring, it could be for a number of reasons:
The person being asked isn’t privy to the reasons for not going ahead so says something that sounds plausible.
Or: there’s another reason they are reluctant to share; maybe the project got dropped, maybe the budget was used elsewhere. It could be that they were price bench marking.
Let’s say it IS that the other company has a better understanding. This means they did a better job of demonstrating that understanding. And that could be in lots of ways:
They reassured by delivering relevant case studies, references, testimonials and social proof.
They asked better questions to gain a deeper insight into the objectives.
They were effective at understanding the collective and individual motives of those involved in the decision making process.
Ultimately the other company asked better questions which gave them better quality information to enable them to come up with the right package. It comes back to “Seek first to understand, before being understood.” One of Dr Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Going back to the original conversation in the opening of this blog; my contact asked a question which prompted the response “the other company has a better understanding of our business…” The natural way to reciprocate would be to acknowledge the comment, thank them for the feedback and ask for any more detail they can share as an example to help you to improve.
One of the things that differentiate the most effective salespeople from the rest is that they will do things that others will not do. This doesn’t have to be hard- it’s often just opening the process by asking one more question!
I hope you find this useful, what’s your experience/ approach with this kind of situation? Would be great to see your comments and please share too!