In any medical drama, whether your flavor is “ER” or “House” or “Scrubs” or “Grey’s Anatomy” (jeepers, there are a lot of these medical dramas!), when a case goes south, the hospital conducts a review to figure out what happened and why it happened. The stated goal is to learn from mistakes and prevent them from happening again. The un-stated goal is to find a scapegoat, someone on whom to pin the blame. The clinician goes before a Review Board (some might call it an inquisition) and answers questions. According to TV, it’s stressful and hard, but that’s a small price to pay for figuring out what went wrong!

Why are we talking about medical review boards in a blog post about selling? Because there’s an analogy that works. When a sales opportunity goes south on us and we lose a deal, everyone wants to know how and why, so that lessons can be learned and future mistakes avoided. And yes, sometimes, we just want to find someone else to blame.

No one, including salespeople, like to acknowledge they may have made mistakes in pursuit of a win. That is why the hunt for a scapegoat is so prevalent! In our multiple decades of sales performance consulting, we have heard all manner of reasons for deals going south, form poor leads to unfair competition to inept marketing to supply chain disruptions. But by far, the single biggest scapegoat for sales failure is PRICE.

Typically, when we conduct these sessions, the first question we ask is; “Other than price, what were the other top three decision criteria your customer used to compare you to the competition?” Now, we know that most of the reps would not be able to answer the question, because if they did, “price” would not have been the reason they lost their sale. Instead, they provided us with their best guess as to what the other decision criteria the customer was using to compare their solution to the competition. However, when we asked three follow up questions, they admit that they honestly do not know the other criteria. The three additional questions we tend to ask are:

  • How did your customer rank that criteria from most essential to least essential?
  • When considering the criteria your customer was using in their decision, how did your customer perceive your company’s ability to meet the criteria as compared to the competition? In other words, if you said, “reliability” was important criteria, did your customer believe your product was more reliable or less reliable than the competition?”
  • When considering the multiple influencers involved in the decision, how did the decision criteria of the top three influencers differ?

In our upcoming webinar titled “Stop Blaming Price,” we will explore the role that price plays in purchasing decisions and provide concrete evidence to debunk the supposed role that Price has played as a “deal killer.” In fact, in this webinar, we will introduce you to the real deal killer and provide tools to avoid this deal killer in the future. Author and Ignite Selling co-founder, Steve Gielda, will be joined by Jeffrey Barone, a senior sales leader and one of Ignite Selling’s top customers, to discuss how we have helped salespeople overcome the price challenge through the use of simple strategy tools and effective sales coaching. Register here to know more.