But before you move on, don’t throw away all of your hard work!!!!
So the second thing to do is to put your emotions aside. You might be feeling hurt, angry or even just disappointed and this can make you come across as unprofessional, petty and combative. So take a big deep breath – and slap on your smile… the next bits important…
…you have one chance to acknowledge the decision the client has made in a ‘positive’ way – thank them for letting them know and for the opportunity to have presented / put together a proposal (whatever it might be). This is really important so you can ask the next question and get a genuine answer.
Because of course you need to ask why they went with the competitor / other solution etc. And be ready for the fact that you might not like the answer! So for example them may say it was because your competitor can do a b c which you can’t… and what you are screaming in your head is “BUT I CAN – I TOLD YOU I COULD!!!!!!”. Again – now is not the time to push back on this – instead acknowledge it and take a mental note to reflect on it.
In essence it’s not about if you offered the same – it’s the fact that this wasn’t the perception the client got, so you can learn from this and reflect on how you can position yourself differently next time. Also they have just told you something really important – that this point was important enough to make the decision one way or the other. Again you really need to thank them for this feedback to – it’s really helpful for you and your business.
And then…. settle in for the war! … just because you lost this one doesn’t mean you should throw away the relationship and all of the hard work you have put into it!
You now have a better understanding of your client’s key drivers, an idea of what they are up to (and who with) over the coming months – so keep building that relationship – continue to add value, and ask really positively how things are going. This is a great way to build your relationship – by respecting their decision and being adult enough to continue to have a great professional relationship. It also means if the situation changes, there is a problem with the provider they have selected, they need some additional resource and support – that you become the first port of call.