We celebrate our wins and victories, as we should. Sometimes, we do a debrief on why we won, so we can learn and improve our execution in future opportunities.
Often, we focus on all the things we did; we engaged the right people, we talked about the issues that were important to them, we had a superior solution, we were more compelling than the competition. We usually focus on everything we did right, causing the customer to choose us.
But when we do our “win analysis,” we too often miss some important things, and these can be critical to our ability to compete in the future.
First, we are never perfect, even if we win. We make mistakes, we could do some things better. It’s important to talk to customers, thanking them for the business, but asking, “Is there anything we might have done better, or differently, that would have created much more value in your buying process? Is there anything we didn’t cover with you, that we should have?”
Second, despite losing, our competitors usually do some very interesting and innovative things. They never lose by a lot, so it’s interesting to learn from the customer, “Did the competitors do anything with you that was really different and you found valuable? Were there things they did that you would have liked to have seen us do?”
We can learn a lot about the customer’s perception of their own process. “As you reflect back on your process of making this decision, where were the areas you had the most difficulty? What caused that? Were there things that we might have done to have helped you? Knowing what you know now, what would you have changed about your process?”
Finally, customers are plagued with buyers’ remorse, decision regret. Often, it’s not about our solution but whether they did the right thing. We have the opportunity to learn from them, building their confidence and avoiding problems. “Now that you’ve made this decision, what are your biggest concerns? Do you have anything that you are worried about, what can we (together) do to make sure you have confidence that this was the right decision.
We can learn so much more than just that we were chosen over the competition.
And, when we lose, we should ask similar questions about why we lost and how we can improve.
We don’t learn by focusing just on our strengths, we need to understand our weaknesses and learn how to reduce or eliminate them.