How to Avoid a Surprise Loss

From the experts at Resource Associates Corporation, here are words to the wise about avoiding surprises during the sales process.  

One of the worst things that can happen to you is a surprise loss. Your job when talking to a prospect is to be in control of your sale:

  • To know what’s going on in the sale (ask questions to control the sales process),
  • To influence it to a close for you by addressing their specific measurable needs,
  • To get out early if you can’t help them or if they don’t want to be helped.

A surprise loss means that you wasted valuable sales time.

Time that could and should have been used towards talking with a better quality prospect. To avoid surprise losses, you must possess what Napoleon Hill called Accurate Thinking in his book The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.

“Accurate thought involves two fundamentals. First, to think accurately you must separate facts from mere information. There is much ‘information’ available to you that is not based on facts. Second, you must separate facts into two classes; namely the important and the unimportant, or, the relevant and the irrelevant.”


To avoid surprise losses then, you must be able to see your sales as they really are. Not as you wish they might be. Not as you fear they might be. Some people may say that all sales are winnable. That is not realistic however. That is not Accurate Thinking. You need to always be asking yourself the main question that your prospect is asking. And that is, “Is my service the best fit for what they are seeking?” This is the paramount question that is being asked by every prospect in every sale you engage.

To help you accurately answer this question, you should also be asking both of yourself (and more importantly of your prospect), “What is the real problem that the prospect wants to solve and what is the Root Cause of that problem?” These are relevant pieces of information. Addressing the root cause will determine the service you recommend (Attribute Index, Leadership Development, Cycle Time Reduction, Strategic Thinking, etc.). Addressing the root cause will also cause the problem to go away. Addressing a symptom (irrelevant information) will never cause a problem to be completely solved, only temporarily muted. 


They usually tell you what product/service they want. In other words, they think that they know how to solve their problem by purchasing a service like the one you sell, which is why they are talking to you. To be able to accurately assess their real needs and to determine if you are the best fit, you need to know the precise nature of the problem(s) they desire to solve. It will be amazing how few surprise losses you will experience by following this Accurate Thinking approach.

At Houston Partners we have experts in selling ready to collaborate with you on increasing your closing ratio and maximizing the use of your selling time. Feel free to call us at 623-584-3200, or email us at We are ready to listen!

To Your Success!