My friend Trent had been a major league ballplayer and a damn good one. His fastball averaged over 95 mph. Then a freak accident ended his career. He wound up in sales training, just as I had.
Last week, we were commiserating over coffee. Despite the ups and downs and challenges of this business, he always seemed upbeat. On the other hand, that morning, I was anything but.
“We lost a major deal last week…” I sighed.
“It seemed like it couldn’t go wrong – it was a warm referral, and we gave them everything they asked for.”
Trent nodded, encouraging me to continue.
“They asked for a fully customized sales training program for their US and UK teams- we said yes.
“They asked us to jam both Negotiation and Objection handling training in one day, instead of the usual three, maximizing the use of time- we said yes.
“They asked for comprehensive after-training support. We said yes, and included a coaching component at no additional charge for 8-12 weeks.
“They asked for a gamification and engagement tool to enhance the training. We agreed to provide one at no cost, and even showed them Mock-up scenarios, sample quizzes, and trial accounts.
Trent nodded again. I continued, “Then, they asked to move the date of the training-we said yes.
“They said they loved our approach and program, but explained they had a very tight budget for this training. They asked about our best possible price. We then agreed to give them a 30% discount! I was sure I had closed the sale….”
“Lastly, they asked for a reference in the same vertical – we provided one and arranged the call.”
“But, in the end, we lost the deal! ” I shook my head.
“I was so stunned, I called to find out ‘Why?’ I have to give them credit, they took my call. They said they ‘went with a local company because it was more convenient to work with.’ “ I shook my head again and stared dejectedly into my coffee.
Trent looked at me and simply said, “Remember the best major league ballplayers only bat about 300. Even the great Ty Cobb’s average was just 366. No one bats 1000, Ed. No one, even when all the stars seem to be in alignment. Even when we’ve had a bad day, we know that the next game may be a winning one. ”
I still think about Trent’s wise advice, and today I’m passing it along to you.
Don’t let circumstances you can’t control to control you. Sometimes you can do everything you can, everything right, and still not win the business. Yes, it hurts, just like striking out does. Let’s not fool each other here. But, tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to tell your story.