Do You Lose With Dignity?


Most frontline sales professionals – at least those working in a B2B environment – will tell you that they always (try) to work to “win-win” principles, but in order to fully comprehend the significance of “win-win” we must also appreciate why “lose-win” and “win-lose” are rarely, if ever, acceptable outcomes. Here is my interpretation.

“Lose-win” means we have accepted terms or reached an agreement that has insufficient value for us; it has produced an inappropriate level of profit, and it may have no strategic value – that is to say, there is no long-term value either. No matter how much ground bait you throw in, it is not going create a proper return on your investment.

With “win-lose” we appear to gain a financial advantage at the expense of the buyer. This approach may be acceptable in some commodity sales environments, where you are totally driven by top-line revenue, and the opportunity for repeat business is negligible, but even then, most companies are waking up to the value of repeat business – even your local restaurant.

You see, your customer will find out that they have paid over the odds, or they have been treated unfairly, and they will vote with their feet, and may never return.

That leaves us with just one final possible outcome, “lose-lose”

I suspect that as many as 80% of frontline sales professionals will shudder at the thought of “lose-lose” No deal, no commission, angry boss for losing the order. This is a very short-sighted and commercially naive viewpoint.

The scenario often plays out something like this: We work conscientiously throughout the sales/buying cycle; we understand the rules; we are totally aware of the steps our prospective buyer intends to take, and we accept them. Then at the death, the rules are changed. Typically price becomes a far more critical issue, and we discover that we are being rapidly pushed towards a “lose-win” outcome.

So now we have two choices. We can agree to the revised terms; drop our pants and cave in just to save the order, and earn a reduced commission – and of course much less profit for our company. Alternatively, we can accept “lose-lose”

There are, you may be surprised to learn, benefits from opting for “lose-lose”

You walk away with dignity. You send out a message that you fully appreciate the value of your products/solutions, your company and yourself. You are letting your prospective purchaser know that your company is also in business to make a profit.

By standing your ground, you will, in all probability, gain an even higher level of respect from the other side – and you will have the opportunity to do business together in the future – no, does not mean never.


News: Currently over at Top Sales World, we typically update and refresh all resources every Wednesday, but that’s about to change: From February 18th, we will be working with this timetable:

Mondays: New Ebook/Whitepaper plus Recommended Book

Tuesdays: Latest Sales Management Issues and Top Sales Hardtalk interviews released

Wednesday: Top 10 Sales Articles for week published and previous week’s winner announced.

Thursday: Top 10 Blog Posts for week published and previous week’s winner announced.

Friday: Top Sales Management new Self-Development Tip/Team Development/How to Guide published.

The new weekly Top Sales Radio show will also be posted every Monday from February 18th, but we are recording a special launch edition on February 14th.

Please don’t forget that we are publishing a new Top Sales Tip and Top Sales Article every day.

Finally, also in February, we announce the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013. This was the 2012 list, so it is going to be very interesting to see who retains their place, who comes in, and of course, who slips out!


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