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Lost that vending contract? Here’s what to say.

It’s a gutting feeling when you’ve put your all into developing a prospect, going to see them, working with them and really building up a relationship, fitting your solution to their needs – only to meet with rejection.

It’s all too easy to take it personally. After all, you’re the one who’s been working with them, getting to know how they tick and building rapport. It hurts when they turn you down.

Sometimes it just happens. Another offering comes along that fits their needs better, offers better flexibility or an easier sales contract. Or sometimes it seems like there’s no reason at all.

But all is not lost. There are things that you can say to keep that flame alive, so that all of that time and effort you put into that lost deal isn’t wasted.

After all, if you really built that relationship so well, there should be a chance for getting a referral, or even a chance for you to pitch again in future.

1. “What made you choose that other company?”

It’s critical to find out why you lost that deal, so that in future, you can stop that gap. It might be that there’s nothing you can do, but at least you’ve tried, and shown that you’re interested in improving.

2. “Yes, I can see that was a good choice you made.”

It’s counterintuitive and tastes pretty bitter to compliment your prospect on choosing your competitor.

But think about it. You’re complimenting their choice, and proving to them that you understand their needs. In effect, you’re saying that you’re on their side: you’re honest and not in it for the money.

When you say this, you’re much more likely to appear human and likable, and much more in line for a referral if a sister company develops a need for your offering, or indeed if your prospect’s needs change.

3. “Let’s keep in touch.”

Sales people are networkers, but how many of us actually bother to follow up on our promise to keep in touch?

By keeping our valuable content in front of your prospect, and continuing to add value – even by helping them with your competitor’s product – you’re positioning as a trusted advisor and saying that you’re the go-to expert, even above your competitor.

By practising these three points, you’re lining yourself up for referrals and for future opportunities to re-pitch.

And who knows? Maybe all that effort you originally put in will lead to far greater fruit than you ever expected!


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