06 June 2008

What to do when the sale stalls?

How many stalled sales do you have in your sales pipeline right now?

You feel as though you have done everything right. You have connected well with your prospect, they have explained their business and relevant personal issues and you are working directly with the person who has the authority and ability to make the decision. They have given you all the right buying signals but the only problem is you can’t get them to sign on the dotted line and now they aren’t returning your calls.

In order to jumpstart a stalled sale, you must first diagnose the reasons behind it. The problem may not be that the sale stalls, the problem is that we just don’t recognize it soon enough and waste valuable time and resources on dead-end opportunities.

Little connection to a critical business issue
How is your solution addressing a business issue for your customer or prospect? For each opportunity in your sales pipeline answer this question:

Why does your prospect want to buy this product or service?

If you cannot communicate how your solution can

·         Improve revenue, productivity, qualify or efficiency
·         Save time or money
·         Solve a critical problem, challenge or frustration that the business is facing

You can expect your sale to stall. Business owners and Senior Executives only spend time on matters that directly impact their business. If cannot identify a business reason and you want to jumpstart the sale, try to meet with your prospect again to discuss their critical business issues rather than your solutions.

Customers Are Busy
The end of a sale often becomes difficult when your customer or prospect stops returning your calls and emails, overnight. It appears as though they have lost interest and the sale has gone cold….. Or has it?

Many of us find it difficult to get everything done during work day or experience unexpected problems which take our focus elsewhere and your customers are no different. In fact, the better the prospect the busier they are likely to be.

It is important not to panic at this stage and let the customer or prospect fall away or to annoy them with endless phone calls and messages.

Keep momentum by maintaining regular contact, acknowledge your client is busy and perhaps ask them when would be an appropriate day or time for you to call and follow-up.

"I Want to Think it Over"
When a customer says, "I want to think it over," this may not always be the case. Some are actually saying "thanks but not thanks" to avoid a potentially negative and uncomfortable situation and some genuinely do want to think it over or talk to their business partner.  The important thing is to know the difference between the two.

Some people just need a little push and a little help to make the decision. They may find making decisions difficult and are afraid of making the wrong decision. To many, no decision is the best decision.

When the prospect says, "I want to think it over," it is important to acknowledge and respect what the client says. Smile and say "that’s a good idea, this is an important decision and I completely understand your need to think about it" which will help the prospect to relax.

It important now to leave now or you will lose this person as a prospect and being the never-ending game of phone tag and follow-up.

Ask the prospect "Obviously you have a good reason for wanting to think it over. May I ask what the reason is?”

This gives you the opportunity to see how genuine the prospect is and to uncover their real concerns and objections and say “If we could do this, would that solve the problem?

Fear of Rejection
A major obstacle to selling is the fear of rejection or criticism. This fear can jeopardize all your hard work asyour sales simply slip through your fingers and go cold.

Fear of rejection is a geniune emotion that many people in sales experience at one point or another and  can be overcome through practice and by changing your mindset about sales and follow-up. Sales is not about being pushy and arrogant, it is about you communicate your ability to help and solve problems.

Did you know that one of the biggest complaints consumers have about salespeople is that they don’t follow up?

Your customers are busy too, so making a quick courtesy call to see how the decision is progressing may actually be doing them a favour. Who knows, they may have been meaning to call you all along but have simply been too busy.

Article by Karen Andrews, Shine Training
If you or your company is planning a sales meeting this year, then I may be able to help you. I help sales teams pinpoint what they need to do differently to get better results and close more sales. Email me at kandrews@shinesales.com.au or call 02 9437 6500.

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