Through this website, I will do my best to precisely map out the steps you need to get from start to finish in the sales cycle. But the process is not a precise science – people are not predictable robots! Successful selling is ultimately about people, their emotions, their subconscious fears. It’s about empathy.
Entrepreneur’s article on the conversations going on inside the buyer’s and seller’s head provides great insight into the obstacles to “the close”:
Salesperson “I wanted to follow up on the proposal we submitted and answer any questions or concerns you might have.”
Buyer: (To herself) “Their proposal didn’t address my needs and I am leaning towards another company. Should I share my real concerns or just tell her everything is fine? I am really not in the mood for another sales pitch right now.”
Buyer (To salesperson) “I don’t have any questions. Everything looks fine. I have a call right now and I need to jump off.”
Salesperson (To herself) “Sounds like something is a bit off. Should I probe more and see what is going on?
Salesperson “Great to hear! I look forward to hearing your decision when you are ready.”
Since the original proposal did not appear to address the needs of the buyer, the buyer is assuming that she is not being heard, so what’s the point of proceeding with the conversation? Remember, she only has so many hours in the day to deal with salespeople – she has “clients” she has to serve herself!
The key insight in this article is this:
Several things have to occur for buyers to want to share what they are feeling or experiencing:
1. They have to believe they are dealing with a highly trustworthy and credible salesperson who has their best interest at heart… high pressure closers need not apply.
2. They see the salesperson as “safe.” This means they feel the salesperson won’t convince them they are wrong, pressure them, overcome their objections, or try to play with their emotions. They just want to be heard and understood…regardless of whether or not they buy
And unless this relationship has been established:
Buyers will most likely try to create some distance during decision making time by telling the salesperson what they think they want to hear or clamming up rather than what is really going on.
Here is one way you could turn around the conversation above:
Be open and admit you made a mistake. For example, you could say, “I sense something is off, and that I haven’t quite met your needs. Can we meet for a quick coffee/ schedule a call later today to go over your concerns, and assess if we can help you, and if we can’t, I will happily recommend someone who can.”
People hate being pitched. But they all want to be heard.
If you’re arranging a call to figure out how you can help them, they’re more likely to give you another chance.
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