The Number-One Reason We Lose Deals


WHAT? The common denominator of lost opportunities is that salespeople misinterpret the difference between an internal coach and a champion. When I ask salespeople, “What is a champion?” they respond that is someone who gives you insider information and will stand up and fight for your solution even when you’re not there (including committee meetings). Unfortunately, their definition stops there. The reality is that they have just described a coach, not a champion.

SO WHAT? No opportunity has ever been closed without having an internal champion. Because the coach is helping the salesperson, he or she assumes that the coach is the champion and so will focus on that person. Such salespeople even tell their manager, their significant other, and friends that “this is a done deal.” It is a complete surprise to them when they don’t win the deal.


  • Understand the difference between a coach and a champion. A champion is someone who has credibility within his or her organization and will support your solution. It’s that simple and that difficult.
  • You can’t make a champion. The champion has already established credibility before you were ever on the scene. You can, however, groom such a person to be YOUR champion.
  • Find the champion by asking people within your buyer organization, “the last time a decision was made, who was involved? Who does everyone respect? Who else should I be speaking with?” If you ask seven people this question, you are looking for the same name at least three of the seven times.

Copyright © 2012 by Todd Zaugg, “Warrior Sales Monk, Heart of a Warrior, Soul of a Monk, Mind of a Professional”

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