by Paul Reilly

If you asked a spectator to describe a Blue Angel airshow, they would use words like “perfection” or “flawless.” On the other hand, if you asked the pilot about their performance, they’d give you a detailed outline of what they did wrong. In fact, the Blue Angel team spends twice as much time reviewing the performance than the actual length of the performance. Blue Angels will assess everything from their march to the aircraft to the cleanliness of their uniform. Their goal is perfection. When your wingtip is 16 inches from your team-member’s canopy, you need perfection.

When was the last time you reviewed a sales presentation with that level of scrutiny?

A majority of salespeople do not thoroughly review their wins and losses. Instead of a thorough process review, there is an emotional review. Salespeople focus on the emotional pain of losing, the euphoric feeling of winning, or the frustration of unresponsiveness. The focus is on the emotion, not the process followed.

Salespeople are busy. They are pressured to move onto the next task or the next opportunity. Salespeople don’t want to waste a minute, so they move on.

An emotional review, coupled with the busy nature of sales, leads to an important unanswered question. Why did we win and why did we lose?

A thorough post-sale analysis will bring clarity. A post-sale analysis will help correct the course and reinforce the right behavior. Consider asking the customer or prospect the following questions:

Win Scenario

  • Why our solution?
  • What was the deciding factor?
  • Why make this decision now?
  • What were the strengths of our solution?

Loss Scenario

  • Why their solution?
  • What was the deciding factor?
  • Why make this decision now?
  • What were the strengths of their solution?

Ted Williams said, “If I didn’t know what I was doing right when I was doing it; how would I know what to do right, when I was doing it wrong.” He is commenting on his legendary hitting streaks. The same logic applies to sales. It is equally important to examine the wins and the losses.

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