Imagine for a moment you’re preparing for a series of win/loss interviews in which you are well-prepared. You’ve been familiarizing yourself with a host of good win/loss practices - you know how many interviews you need, you’ve sussed-out your company’s story and goals, and you’ve prepared yourself to handle difficult or challenging interviewees. You’re ready for this - but nobody else seems to be. No matter how often you reach out to current and former clients, nobody seems to have the time to talk to you - and those that do tend to keep cancelling and rescheduling, a polite way of letting you down gently. You don’t know where to turn - which is where we come in.
At Eigenworks we’ve been booking win/loss calls for a long time, and in that time we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. If you’re a win/loss expert who can’t seem to get anyone on the phone, we can help. Here are six tips and tricks to booking win/loss interviews.
1. Have a Game Plan
If you’re as well-prepared as the hypothetical you in the introduction, odds are you’re already on your way to having a game plan - at the very least you’re starting from a place of preparation, which is rarer than it should be. But a game plans needs more to it than just familiarizing yourself with good win/loss practices. You’ve got to get your interviewee involved in the process - when pitching your win/loss interview, try to get them on-board with what it is you are doing. Your gameplan needs to be sharable - the interviewee needs to know how they fit-in to the plan. It helps if you can make them feel like they are a crucial, even critical component of what you’re doing. If you can pitch your goals in a way that makes the interviewee want to see you achieve them, if you can demonstrate that recruiting them is the key to your overall success, you might find more enthusiasm when it comes time to set-up an interview. Showing that this is more just a phone call - that it is a vital part of a larger plan - will help sell the interview better, especially if you can make the interviewee feel important.
2. Timing Is Everything
The win/loss interview process can’t be easily inserted into a spare break in your ordinary schedule - this is a process that takes dedication and commitment of time. When it comes to booking interviews you’ve got to disconnect from what’s normal and make yourself as free as possible - it’s a way of showing the interviewee how much the call matters. Make the question ‘what’s convenient for you?’ have real meaning behind it - make the interviewee feel like you’re entirely at their disposal. It shows how serious you are about the interview: your time is their time. If they can only telephone at midnight on a Saturday, your response should be ‘that’s fantastic, of course that works for me.’ Show them that the call really matters to you.
3. Make A ConnectionIf you don’t have a background in sales, it’s time to start talking to those who do, because anyone with sales experience will always have a head-up on getting win/loss interviews. The same tactics you might use to make a connection with a buyer should be employed to sell people on a win/loss interview - and since many of these potentials will be current and former buyers, what was successful on them then may be successful now. You should already have the information on the previous sales process from your background research - it’s what should have guided the question-crafting process. Draw on that sales history, and well as your sales experience, to make the pitch more personal. You should always aim to make some sort of connection with the interviewee.
4. Offer Incentives
We would never use the word bribe, which is why the word ‘incentive’ is so wonderful. Seriously, though, there is something to be said about material compensation. Honorariums don’t have to be large, but if you’re asking someone to give up a significant portion of their time, it can help to let them know that it is not simply for your benefit - that they too will get something out of it, something tangible. Compensate them for their time: their time is valuable to you, so much so that you’ll literally pay for it. If just paying cash seems crude, put a little sales polish on it - offer your incentive in the form of a gift card, or offer to donate the honorarium to a charity of their choice, which not only helps others but will give the both of you a dopamine boost for doing good works. Either-way, you show to the interviewee that their time has value.
5. Adjust Your Messaging
If telephone interviews are proving impractical, maybe try and see if an e-mail interview would go over better. An in-person interview has a lot of benefits - you can better-shape the conversation, improvise on new information, and turn on the charm when you need to - but if phones are proving a barrier, maybe it’s time to change tactics. Much like timing above, you’ve got to make this interview work for the other person: perhaps leaving the phone for e-mail will be the last hurdle you need to clear.
6. Call In The Win/Loss Professionals
As the above shows, organizing win/loss interviews is a lot of work. You can start with the best intentions in the world, but quickly find yourself drowning in the complications of logistics. It can be a full-time job, and since your ordinary job likely didn’t disappear when you started to work on the win/loss, you may find that you’re practically trying to work two jobs at once. That’s where we come in. At Eigenworks, win/loss is our full-time profession, and we’re really good at it. Letting the professionals take over not only gives you your life back, but it gives you access to people who have long experience in getting people to agree to interviews - as well as in analyzing the data those interviews generate. Calling in the professional can save your sanity when the win/loss process threatens to break it, and it lets you get back to all your other responsibilities, comforted by the knowledge that the interviews are in good hands.
We hope that these tips and tricks help you to in booking win/loss interviews in the future. Start looking over what you’ve been doing up to now, and refer back to this list. Have you been selling the importance of what you’re doing? Have you convinced the interviewee of its value, and their own? Have you made them feel like they are valuable to you - and shown that you’re willing to pay for it? Have you demonstrated that you will bend over backwards if that what it takes to get an interview, because that’s how crucial it is?
If not, it’s time to start. It is time to show your potential interviewees how important they are - and how much their time and knowledge mean to you.