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What Does It Take To WIN A Sale?

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What to do when you win or lose.

You have given your elevator pitch, you have met with the customer, and you have identified their business value proposition and their business pain as well. Now you have jotted down your proposal, detailing all of the information you have gathered. The proposal outlines the way you see the problem and the way the client sees the problem (if you used a consultative approach, you will be able to see the problem from the client's point of view). You have also given them three options for proceeding on the project. Now you sit and wait.

Actually, you only wait for a couple of days so that the client has time to read the proposal and digest it; then you follow-up for a discussion of the proposal. The meeting is set and now you will answer questions about what it is you will do for the client.

The client will likely accept most of what you propose, but there is a chance that the proposal will be shelved until a later date and time. If this happens, you have not convinced the client of your value. You will need to go back and see what part of the process was not in your favor. The best way to do this is to ask the client what you could have done better in order to win the business. This follow-up will bring responses that range from a budget cut, an influencer wanted the competition in place, or your proposal was out of line. What you need to do is to chalk it up to a learning experience but make sure you continue to keep the client in the loop as part of your inner circle. It comes back to never burning the bridge and being extremely professional at all times.

When you lose a deal, it is important that you take time to debrief with the client to learn why you did not get the contract. If you win, what happens? You usually go on with the project. It is important that you also debrief with the client even if you win the deal. You will learn what earned you the contract and also what areas the client would like to see improved.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit

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