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Advice on "We're going to stick with our current ______"

I had been talking with this company for over a year and finally was able to complete the full proposal meeting last month. They are qualified for our platform, can afford it, and we always seemed to have good/productive conversations. They refused to meet over zoom and would always have me fly to the Bay Area to meet in person.


After the proposal meeting, the CEO - COO - HR all agreed this was a "no-brainer". I left the meeting confident that the deal was done. I sent a follow-up email about a week later, and they had another objection for me, which I handled. I got an email today saying they were going to stick with the same person/organization that had not helped them much in the past and gave me no clear reason why they are not going to make the switch. If I had to guess, it would be to maintain a business relationship they had previously had for years.


I want to understand why they didn't choose to buy without coming off as an asshole and ruining my chances of ever working with them in the future.


What's the best way to reply to this prospect without burning the bridge?

๐Ÿ“ˆ Closing
๐Ÿ›ก Insurance
15
braintank
Politicker
8
Enterprise Account Executive
Have your boss (or CEO) reach out and ask for a post-mortem. Chalk it up to wanting to learn how to improve.
jefe
Arsonist
2
Head of Sales
Best time to bring in the big guns
Hotlead
Politicker
1
Producer
Most likely what will happen, was looking for a last-ditch effort to not piss them off and to get some more info on the actual reason why.ย 
LordBusiness
Politicker
5
Chief Revenue Officer
If you are really looking to understand the why you lost; then itโ€™s best to diffuse the situation with honestly, and say something like โ€œI respect the decision to keep the status quo, in an effort to help me grow and learn can we get 30 mins to discuss why?โ€ And then maybe offer them up a gift card; or little treat for their time.
saaskicker
Politicker
5
Sr. AE
Fly back out there and ask them face to face.ย 
LordOfWar
Tycoon
3
Blow it up
Maybe they went to dump the existing supplier and got offered a big discount? May look enticing, but if they get the same (or worse) level of service that had them looking in the first place then it is not worth it to them in the long run.

Don't worry about coming off as an asshole. They are the ones who wasted your time and all you're doing is trying to find out how to better help them in the future.

Push for what went wrong. In this case, I'd bypass the buyer if they stonewall and go straight for the CEO/COO. Ask why they didn't want to plug you in alongside the existing supplier for a trial, if possible.

Some companies are just time wasters and should be avoided, but only you know when to make that call. By refusing to engage with them in the future it might even make them want you more and have them chase you. Then you can raise rates and make up for all that lost time and energy.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
1
Senior Account Executive
Or they didn't have buy in from the board.
LordOfWar
Tycoon
1
Blow it up
Yup, buyer or higher could be straight-up lying to just get more dirt to use against the incumbent too. Prospects be crazy sometimes.
TennisandSales
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
damn I would be fucking pissed.ย 

But my first thought is to go back to your discovery process. in most cases when this happens, the prospect doesnt feel enough pain in staying with the current set up or not enough benefit to change with all the change management that would be needed.ย 

I would NOT shy away from being upfront here. classic "im confused use case" I would not email. I would call.ย 

"Sally, I am very confused by this. In our last meeting you mentioned that XYZ aspects would be game changers for you and mentioned this would be a "no brainer". Can you help me understand how (current solution) is going to be able to change and help solve XYZ problems? "

You can say this without being a dick for sure.ย 
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
After a year of discussion, you should have enough of a relationship to be able to find out why they are staying with the status quo.

Working in software, sometimes it's that change management is hard and a rip-and-replace is more costly than just the software, which can be another hurdle.ย  I'm not sure if that's the case with your solution, but it's something I've always paid attention to, as it will rear its ugly head during a deal cycle.

But all things considered, you do still have a relationship there, it's fair to request time to review the decision and understand why, and continue to build on the relationship in a positive manner.
Pachacuti
Politicker
2
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
Something happened. They may not tell you what, but something happened.

It may be fear of the future economy, someone new in the c-suite, who knows?

Or something didnโ€™t happen they expected to happen.

They owe you an explanation. Go get it!
UrAssIsSaaS
Arsonist
1
SaaS Eater
Did you source this deal yourself or was it an RFP?
Hotlead
Politicker
2
Producer
Sourced the deal myself
UrAssIsSaaS
Arsonist
2
SaaS Eater
I would be relatively direct/frank. Use what brain outlined or send something asking for feedback as to why your solution didnt fully solve the needs you understood they needed help with.ย 

IF there is any chance left to salvage the deal you can pivot from there.ย 

You can send something as simple as, "I appreciate you letting me know. I am curious to know what we lacked that led you to staying with your current provider"ย 
Hotlead
Politicker
2
Producer
Roger that, thank youย 
FormerStartupJobHopper
Tycoon
0
AE
damn, im inside sales and obviously hate this. Cant even imagine how annoyed id be if i was flying out
AgastyaAdams
Politicker
0
Sales Development Manager
You ask them, respectfully?

Having spent a year with them on this, I hardly see them getting offended on such a question.ย 

If they do, it's kinda good you lost this deal.
SADNESSLieutenant
Politicker
0
Officer of โ™ฅ๏ธ
'I think there seems to be some confusion here' = havve you lost your mind

' We had discussed how we could x,y,z and you mentioned that doing z would get you to a faster, better and cheaper, has something changed that I am unaware of? '
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