When I was about 14, my dad went through the manly ritual of teaching me to shave. The tools were fairly archaic (at least I think a sharpened shell would by today’s standards be considered fairly archaic), but the principles have lasted to this day. I distinctly recall him telling me “up and down is fine, but NEVER shave side to side.”
Over the years, the tools improved and the triple blade razor was introduced. As a picky shaver with sensitive skin, I was in nirvana. It was a bit pricier than I liked, but it truly was the best this man could get. In my opinion, the razor war was won with this salvo. Game over. Congratulations.
However, as the years went by, my tried and true vendor of choice continued to come out with advancements. Vibrating handles. FIVE blades. Five THINNER blades. None really surpassed the results I got from my triple blade that, according to their marketing message, could far exceed the speed of sound. But, I tried them all. Then, they went too far. A new unit was introduced that swiveled from side to side.
I distinctly remembered dear old dad’s advice: DON’T shave side to side. Being the rebel that I am, I tried it anyway. The results weren’t the disaster I anticipated, but I didn’t see any marked improvement either. It seemed to me that all of these “advancements” were really nothing more than a gimmick to relieve me of a few extra bucks per cartridge. So, I went back to my tried and true model. What REALLY would make a difference is if any of these razors stayed sharp for more than five or six shaves.
I ran a pilot Win Loss program for a very well performing medical imaging organization. So well performing, in fact, that they currently reside at the top of the industry rankings in their division. So well performing that they rarely lose. But they do lose. With only three lost sales opportunities interviewed in comparison to several wins, you would think we had very little data from the buyers to develop trends. And you may be right. Until Sales jumped in.
World Class Tools versus Poor Customer Experience
During a sales debrief (discovery session) an outspoken sales rep seemed eager to bring up a challenge that was expressed during this deal. Turns out, the reason that the buyer decided not to go with one of their offerings was due to a poor customer experience. Even though the company’s solution had all the latest technology, the buyer had complained they had billing issues with this company in the past.
Now this feedback from one buyer may seem inconsequential to make changes. But in this case, the experienced sales rep backed up the buyer’s concern. The company’s billing system was the equivalent of shaving with a shell. They have a very confusing system that was inherited from an ancestor company. All that seemed to be needed was a three blade approach, so to speak. If not fixed, this could continue to overshadow the “five bladed, vibrating swiveling handle” technology they have.
Look for the Hidden Clues Behind Your Buyers’ Decisions
You may believe your solution is a cut above the rest since it offers lots of bells and whistles. Once you start having conversations with your buyers and your team, you may find those features aren’t enough to keep your buyers interested. What that sharp sales rep did was listen carefully to what the buyer was complaining about and then shared this insight with the team so they could find a resolution. Sometimes the deal falls apart when the sales team neglects to uncover the root cause and offer a viable solution. Click & Tweet!
When analyzing your sales opportunities, it is easy from a sales team’s perspective to assume they lost due to price or a missing feature/functionality. Look beyond the obvious choices. There really is more to the story. Asking your buyers for feedback and discussing the buyer’s comments openly with your team helps to identify those subtle nuances behind the scenes.