Winning the Big Order
that You Lost

Don LinderThink back to a time when you found out that you had won a big order. Pleasant, wasn't it? Now think back to another time when you were told that you had lost a big order. That wasn't a very pleasant feeling, was it?

Beyond the difference in emotion, what was different about the two situations? Likely, the difference was the surprise factor—when you lose, it's an unpleasant surprise, but when you win, you've known in advance that you were going to win.

What causes this phenomenon is basic human nature . . . people don't like to give or receive bad news. In a moment, I'll describe how to tell in advance if you're going to receive good or bad news, but first let's examine the importance of getting bad news early.

Now why would you want to hear bad news about a big order any earlier than you have to? The simple answer is . . . getting bad news early gives you a chance to turn that bad news into good news!

An advanced sales strategies such as the Indirect Strategy ("shift the playing field"), wherein you influence your customer's buying criteria at the last moment, is exceptionally effective for regaining lost orders. For example, one company that I know used the Indirect Strategy to regain a lost big order after their competitor had installed its equipment at the customer's site. Using the Indirect Strategy, they even managed to regain the order without offering additional discounts!

So, how can you tell in advance if you're losing a big order? A former colleague's wisdom on this subject is now referred to as Norm's Law:

"If you're going to win the order, your customer will be sharing information with you that you will need for implementation. If they're not actively sharing that kind of information with you, you're going to lose."


Don Linder, the founder of Major Client Selling, uses structured tools and creative strategies to solve the complex puzzle of selling to big customers. He's the author of "The Seven Deadly Mistakes that Cause You to Lose Large Sales." You can reach Don at


Return to the Articles page.


The Seven Deadly Mistakes That
Cause You To Lose Large Sales

Navigating through the "maze" of a large complex sale can be confusing. But it doesn't have to be.

Seven Deadly Mistakes coverGet 22 pages filled with information about what causes the most common mistakes and advice on how to avoid them. Learn about mistakes such as Failing to Confront Reality, No Business Case and Wasting Resources on Poor Opportunities.

Subscribe to our free regular newsletter about complex sales challenges and you can download Seven Deadly Mistakes immediately.

Your name:

Your email address: