Why You Should Be Trying To Lose Sales

You may be wondering if I'm crazy, but in fact I am lazy (hey, that rhymed).  Anyway, when I first started shooting out proposals and spent time trying to close deals, I would spend hours and hours with prospects that really weren't going to buy my services to begin with.  Quickly I learned that one of the most important thing you should be doing is trying to lose sales.

Why in the heck would I want to lose a sale?

Picture this: you are a cheese salesman and you are trying to convince a customer to buy a crate of cheese.  You spend an hour with them trying to convince them why they need your high-grade cheese, and they tell you to come by again next week.  Each week they do the same thing until you've ended up spending a few months trying to sell to them.

Finally, after 3 months of trying to convince them, you've decided that you've had enough and lay into them in a flurry of anger.  Out of necessity and fear for their life they let you know that they are lactose intolerant and didn't want to tell you because they were embarrassed and because they didn't want to hurt your feelings.

What the heck…?

Losing the sale saves you time and money

If you spent an hour every week for 3 months selling to someone, that's 12 hours or more of your time that you've wasted.  However, what would have happened if your goal was to try to lose the sale quickly?

  • By asking a few simple questions up front you can immediately qualify or disqualify prospects.
  • you spend a few minutes rather than a few hours with a prospect that isn't willing to buy.
  • You free your time to sell to prospects that are more likely to buy from you.

Pretty sweet, huh?

Are you afraid of losing?

By no means do I follow this every time.  Sometimes I want so badly to close a deal and end up shooting myself in the foot. It's a waste of time when they aren't going to ever buy from you.  Here are some recent sales I've lost quickly:

  • A chiropractor that wanted SEO work done (he ended up going with the exact type of swindler company that I mentioned in episode 17 of my podcast).
  • An engineeering consultant looking for a WordPress website for less than $150 bucks (uhh… yeah).
  • A musician that wanted modifications to a failing Joomla site, but was looking for free or cheap labor.

Did my business crumble to the ground?  Hardly, the time I freed up allowed me to work on my e-book, sign new clients, and enjoy my family.

What's your horror story when it comes to trying to sell your product or services to someone that strung you along?  Let everyone know in the comments!


  • Paul T Tran

    December 30, 2010

    I know exactly what you're talking about here; I spent the 1st 3 years of my sales career working my butt off, and always taking action. But I always seemed to mistake action for results; no targeting, no qualifying, being too afraid to ask important questions for fear of rejection/confrontation…and more importantly, no commissions, referrals, and meaningful outcomes.

    A lot of time has passed since – and Jeffrey Gitomer, Brian Tracy, and other sales heroes and sites have opened my eyes to so many things – and now I work less but make more because of targeting, spend time only with the clients that align with my products, services, me, budgetary needs, and the list goes on. Most importantly, I've learned to lose sales quickly. It's amazing how many of us salespeople create an alternative reality where you keep working on a deal that you know that won't close. 1 of the ways I get rid of sales, or make sales, quickly, is to tell clients – hey, I don't want to keep bugging you week after week; I just want to tell you right now that it's okay to say "no;" you'd be doing me more of a favor than for you!

    In 2011, my biggest deal ever closed was due to doing everything I could to "talk my client out of the deal" – I kept confronting them with reasons why my product/service MAY not fit their needs i.e. do you easily have the budget for this? You're already busy with so many projects – will this service add more stress/unhapiness? And so on and so on. Their responses assured me they were excited, and were willing to do the deal with me. And since I qualified and talked them out of the deal early on, there were less surprises and the deal closed smoothly! And the commission? In the 6 figures. Yay! So you're speaking the truth, Dean!

    Keep bringing sales success to everybody's awareness. It'll make the profession better, more respectable, and more profitable!

    • Dean Soto

      January 2, 2011

      Dude, you are amazing, haha!

      Yeah, this was seriously a hard lesson to learn, but it's really the only way to – as you say- target your services and products to those that will truly benefit from them.

      That's really a good idea to tell them that it's okay to say no up front. I'd imagine they are shocked that you'd say that, am I right?

      That is an awesome story, too! Dude, my sales experience pales in comparison to yours, I'm just glad I'm on the right track haha. Yeah, sales is definitely a respectable profession. I never saw it that way before, but just as you said – you were trying to communicate to your potential client that your products MAY NOT fit. That is totally contrary to the greasy salesman character than most people think of.

      Your products, my products, and any other respectable business person's products are there to benefit their target client. Their goal is not to get money but to make their client's life or business better. =)

      You are the man.

  • Jason Baudendistel

    November 16, 2011

    Having a targeted gameplan is huge in both marketing and building your business. The big mistake I think those examples say is not realizing the difference between cost and investment.

  • Derek

    January 5, 2012

    I was stunned when I read this article and the truth of it all hit me between the eyes. I have been suffering from exactly this.

    I know my work is great, I know my service is great, yet when it comes to pricing, I am s**t scared to charge for it because I am afraid I may lose the sale. Then when I get the sale, I have to work my butt off and make a measly few dollars, hardly enough to warrant my time.

    I always justified it by “Oh well, at least a bit is better than nothing. If I’d gone higher, I would have lost the deal”

    Now I see the light.

    Thanks man.