5 reasons good salespeople lose a sale

Suitcase-01You’re a good salesperson – that goes without saying.

But even the best business developers can’t win every pitch. The good news is that you can take steps to tip the scales in your favour.

Here we look at six of the most common reasons why you don’t win a sale – and what you can do about them.

1. Your firm hasn’t done the groundwork

Increasingly, prospects will have done their research into your firm before inviting you to tender. This means that the content you produce, the thought leadership your firm publishes and the share of voice you have online is crucial. 84% of B2B buying decisions now start with a referral, according to research. Outbound selling – via phone, email or other means – is getting tougher.

If you’re not visible online, you’re not on the list. And in the era of AI, quality content is essential to keep you on the radar of the search engines.

Put yourself at the heart of your firm’s online presence by understanding how social media impacts buying decisions and reading our social media 101 for Sales teams to produce content that builds your profile.

2. Your selling style might be out of line with your prospect

Some customers want to be challenged. Others prefer a more collaborative style of selling, where the account manager listens, understands and matches their solution to the client’s specific problem.

If your approach isn’t in tune with your prospect – you’re onto a loser. This can be difficult to overcome – but if you have already built a relationship with your contact through social selling you are more likely to understand their personality and style – and be able to tailor your pitch to suit.

3. You’re not talking to the person who makes the decision

Buying decisions increasingly involve procurement teams, for reasons of global consistency, cost and good governance.  For this reason, you may not be presenting to the person who ultimately makes the decision.

Your proposal might be shared beyond your pitch meeting, which means it needs to talk for itself. 

Does it have the same impact without your explanation? Is it visually appealing, clear and comprehensive?  Read our tips on best practice, compliant sales presentations and how to professional sales documents in less time.

The involvement of global procurement or other company-wide teams can also slow down the buying process, so stay patient.

4. Your data lets you down

Corporate stats, performance figures, AUM – all of these are vital parts of a new business proposal. 

But all too often, you are let down by the data at your disposal. It can be hard to find the information you need – and outdated figures can under-play your abilities.

Make life simpler by building a slide library of accurate information and current data. This will enable you to simply insert pre-approved material into your documents where you need it – saving you time and ensuring your figures are always correct.

Once you have compliance-approved content, make sure you’re presenting data in the most engaging way with our 7 ways to make your PowerPoint charts better.

5. You spend too much time on the basics of your proposal

A common trap for business developers is to spend too much time fiddling with the detail and not enough where you should be focusing – on tailoring the presentation to your contact’s needs.

But there are lots of hacks to help you create more professional presentations with less legwork. Our blogs on Maximising the impact of your sales presentations and A better way to create and amend PowerPoint presentations have lots of tips.


And if you follow these 6 proven techniques to cut your sales admin, you can focus on really getting to know your clients and prospects to create winning proposals and presentations.  

You can’t win every sale – but these tips should help you to maximise your success rate. 

For more time-saving tips for salespeople on winning presentations, download our cheat sheet, How to create graphs and charts in PowerPoint. It’s free, and you can get a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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