Client Purchasing Decisions


When we work in a competitive business environment it goes without saying that there are times you will not win a job. Sometimes this can lead to second-guessing your abilities – especially for solopreneurs who don’t have a team working with them.

Well – I say this is one of the advantages of working with an economy that fosters competition and limits monopolies! Don’t look at not winning a job as a failure,  a missed opportunity or a reflection on your skills or ability to do the job.

Quite simply, it may not have anything to do with you, your skills, your suitability or your abilities at all! I’ve had the experience myself when all things being equal, the client still went with someone else. I knew the colleague I was ‘competing’ with for the job as we had both been referred by the same person who had experience working with us both. We were both offering the same service, the same turnaround and, indeed, the same price. What tipped the balance in my colleague’s favour was the fact that she was located in a city to which the client had a nostalgic connection.

This highlighted for me that clients will more often than not make a purchasing decision based on their own personal buying patterns and this may have nothing at all to do with anything you did or did not do… but you will never know unless you ask!

I always ask the question after following up a job lead and finding out I was unsuccessful “Would you mind sharing with me where my application fell short of your requirements – just so I can improve my service offering for next time?” People are happy to provide you with an explanation when they know you harbour no ill feeling towards them for going with someone else!

Look at these moments as an opportunity for business growth, for fine-tuning your service offering and not as a setback or reflection on your suitability or skills.

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop –


  1. Cathy White says:

    Hi Lynne

    I agree – it’s always a good reminder to look at the glass as half-full!

    It’s amazing how many people don’t ask for feedback as to why they weren’t successful at “winning” a piece of work.

    I was told by an old colleague – if you don’t ask, you won’t know!

    I try to remember this at all times … even when I’ve been successful in winning a piece of work, because that’s helpful to know too 😉

    Cathy White
    i-Assist Corporate Solutions

  2. execva says:

    Thanks for that Cathy! I’ve used the ‘glass half full’ approach to my business and have been going for over 11 years now so it works for me! And you’re right: it is good to know why you succeeded just as much as it’s good to know why you missed out this time. Good point. 🙂

Leave a Reply