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Fatal Sales Failures: Liar, Liar!

By September 23, 2011December 18th, 2015No Comments

Business executives talking in a meeting

Today I’ll tell another of my own Fatal Sales Failure stories.  This one is also true, and it happened not so long ago.

My team and the prospect’s team were sitting at The Buyers’ Table in their conference room.  Enthusiasm was high and conversation was coming fast from every corner.  They wanted to know what outcomes they could expect and how we would work with them.  We talked about our standard implementation for a company like them, and we talked about some additional modules in which they expressed interest.  We discussed price.  By the end of the meeting, we were setting dates to get started.

Next day, we had a formal proposal to them.  Here’s what the standard implementation includes, and here is its price.  Here’s what the additional module includes, and here is its price.

Problem was, they heard us name the price for the standard implementation and did not hear that the “extra” module was not included in that price.  I received a follow-up phone call inquiring about that, and a few days later we received notice that the company was “too busy” right now to implement our solution and wanted to postpone their start date.

Unfortunately, I failed to communicate accurately the pricing that they could expect to see in the proposal.  In fact, I didn’t even think there was a discrepancy until they called.  What seemed quite apparent to me was a shock to them, and I’m sure in their eyes it looked like a bait-and-switch.

How to avoid that kind of fatal failure?  A variety of ways would be an improvement:

  • Think like the buyers.  What are they hearing?
  • Pay close attention to all the details if you are discussing price.
  • Write it down while you are talking, and use your notes in your proposal.
  • Don’t give numbers in conversation, only in writing.

At The Whale Hunters, we constantly urge our clients to consider the fears that buyers may harbor about doing business with them.  The fear that you are not truthful, in my view, tops that list.

We’ve had a bunch of sad stories in our #FatalSalesFailures series–hard lessons learned through someone else’s experiences.  Those are all opportunities for you to avoid learning them by yourself?

Do you have a Fatal Sales Failure story?  Please send it on, and we would love to feature it on the Whale Hunters Wisdon blog.  barbara (at) thewhalehunters (dot) com.

Image courtesy dailyhaha.com