Interested to read the anatomy of a close competitive loss?

From a long list of 9 vendors, the client short listed to 2.

The feedback from the prospect on the losing vendor was odd.

“No negative feedback at all. Basically very, very responsive. Pleasant to work with. Respectful. Upbeat, I don’t know what more they could have done, honestly”.

So how did they lose?

Firstly the winning vendor was able to change the game, by challenging the client on the solution they had asked for. The losing vendor was not.

Secondly references had a huge impact. As the client explained, “They had really fantastic references, which reduced our risk”. The losing vendor had solid, but unremarkable references.

Lastly perceived risk played a critical role in the final decision-making process.

The lesson? To win you need to understand all of the customer’s risk factors (both personal and organisational) and be seen as the best option to manage and mitigate those risks.

Your cost of sale earns you the right to these valuable nuggets of sales intelligence, don’t leave them behind!

Post-script: The sales rep who lost this deal owned the feedback, changed key parts of his selling motion and has been very successful since.

Cian McLoughlin is the Amazon #1 bestselling author of Rebirth of the Salesman, a regular keynote speaker at sales kick-off’s around the world and one of the Top 50 Sales bloggers in the world for the past 2 years. He is a passionate proponent of an ethical, honest and authentic approach to sales. His company, Trinity Perspectives, is committed to helping sales organizations unlock the latent potential of their customers’ insights with their Win Loss Analysis and Sales Transformation services. To read more of Cian’s sales articles visit

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