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Speech After Losing a Key Sales Pitch

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sales Pitch Losing Key Team Speech

There is a lot you can learn from losing a key sales pitch. Rather than just yelling at your team, take this opportunity to understand more about your employees, their strengths and weaknesses and how you can do better next time.

It is important to acknowledge the lost sales pitch. Even if you think it is better to brush yourselves down and move on, it is actually very helpful to debrief. If you set the right tone and are clear about what you did well and where you failed, a speech after losing a key sales pitch can help your team to bond and be more motivated to achieve their potential next time.

Template for a Positive Speech after Losing a Key Sales Pitch

Make your speech as soon as possible after losing the pitch as it will have the maximum impact. If you are sure that there is nothing you can do to overturn the decision, the next best thing is to make sure you learn from your mistakes. Gather your sales team and any other relevant employees, such as marketing and PR and talk to them about how to move forward.

1. Express Your Disappointment

You can’t start your speech by saying that you will learn from your mistakes. As with any raw emotion, it is important to acknowledge how disappointed, frustrated and even angry you are. Let your team express how they’re feeling too. Be prepared that this can cause some incrimination, as people blame the lack of support/effort/research of certain colleagues. It’s all part of learning from the experience, so let it happen and only stop it if you feel it is becoming out of hand.

  • Be honest about how you feel
  • Let your team express their feelings
  • Stay in control of the speech

Example: It won’t come as any great surprise to you to know the reason I’ve brought you all together this morning is to talk about the Bartlett project that we lost yesterday. I am so frustrated that we missed this opportunity, especially as I know it was a very close run thing between us and Blue Square. Do any of you have any ideas as to why we lost this project? (Let people put their hands up and give their answers for a couple of minutes, but maintain control by asking people to speak one at a time).

2. Be Clear About Where You Went Wrong

Now that you have an overview of how your team feels, you can let your speech encompass the general mood. Don’t let yourself be totally dictated to by your employees, but it is important to reflect the situation in order to learn from your mistakes. It is now your opportunity to highlight where you feel the team let themselves down – give specifics and don’t pull your punches. If you are honest and forthright now, you shouldn’t need to make these points again.

  • Be specific about mistakes made
  • Pass on any client feedback

Example: I can tell that you’re all just as frustrated as I am to have lost this pitch, so let’s take this opportunity to be honest about where we went wrong, so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. It is clear from the feedback from Mr Jones at Bartlett that he was impressed with our creative ideas, but his concern was that we had not fully thought through the implications of our plans and how they would impact on the Bartlett end-users. This is a really junior mistake and one that we should not be making this far down the line – it’s a very expensive mistake too as it renders the R&D for the prototype totally useless.

3. Build Morale Back Up

You need to finish your speech by praising what had been done well and reiterating what needs improving. You need your team to learn from this, not be broken by it. End by making it clear that losing sales pitches is not something you want to do often and that you expect more from your team.

  • Congratulate where appropriate
  • Offer one to one meetings with individuals to talk in more detail
  • End on a positive

Example: I am really impressed with how you all worked on this pitch and I appreciate how disappointed you are with the outcome. I think the pitch itself was very well executed and I thought the accompanying report was clearly written. We need to continue to offer our clients these excellent services and work on the areas that let us down, such as the detail of the initial R&D. If any of you would like to talk about this in more detail, send me an email and we can arrange a time. Thanks to you all on your hard work and well done for coming back for more!

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