The value of losing acquisition

Blog, Friday 7 November 2014

Pas­sion brought us togeth­er. Peo­ple who are active in acqui­si­tion often proud­ly pro­vide accounts of how they man­aged to achieve their goal, or how they made the dif­fer­ence by ask­ing about or by deal­ing with cer­tain issues.

This is quite understandable because someone who creates more orders, regardless of their type of work, ultimately goes through a lot of steps:

  • determine where opportunities are the greatest ... for what type of clients?
  • determine what proposal to present to those (potential) clients
  • what UBRs or Unique Buying Reasons this client can discover in discussions with you
  • take action to convince the customer of an agreement
  • repeat this action consistently with other customers to ensure success rates
  • then begin a process of questioning and probing with those customers who are willing to listen, until
  • the customer(s) give(s) buying signals and….then, as ‘acquisition person’ you need to sense this and do and say exactly what will get you closer to an order
  • then note and deal with objections until an order is produced.

The art of acquisition
People who are not actively involved in the acquisition process do not usually know that these steps are needed and how crucial they are: the links between steps, timing of questions and actions, the details in words and actions that can mean the difference between whether or not there is to be progress to the next step. Acquisition is an (underestimated) skill as well as an art. It calls on your feelings, intuition and intellect. It asks of you to be authentic. To dare to ask for an order; knowing that every customer who wants to spend anything will, by definition reject you first before agreeing. Rejection is the natural reaction of any normal customer. And so it starts; can you reverse this? Can you involve someone in your story? Stimulate them by your proposition and passion? So that they eventually 'fall in love' and justify to themselves (and to you) why they are going ahead and buying.

Losing = learning
In my view therefore, 'losing' is a substantial part of being proficient in acquisition. Because you can't just simply go through the above steps. To be able to project yourself as authentic and asking for the business requires practice and nerve. Inevitably, you will initially make mistakes, and you will feel uncertain. Rejected. And yet, this is the only way to get to know your customers. Their needs; how can you best react to these. Where may you have missed a step, or failed to listen to your intuition. Or maybe you left out an action. Just like in any relationship between people, 'losing' provides the ultimate mirror for yourself.

But if you take courage, and do not reject yourself and ‘tackle all of the steps’ again, you will notice that you start to own / master them.

'He who gives everything, has nothing to lose'

Frits Willem Bakker

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