5 Reasons Why Sales Stall At The Close

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Sales person negotiating priceHow many times have you been with a prospect and everything seemed to be going right? You know the feeling…you’ve done your homework, you’re getting good vibes, they’ve made the decision and it looks like a good business relationship is about to start. The only thing they need to do is sign on the dotted line to confirm.

Now let me ask you…how many of your sales in your pipeline actually end up with no decision? With most salespeople, this figure can be as high as 50%. The stalled decisions, as they are known, can be the downfall of many sales people, and most don’t spend the time and resources on these opportunities.

You might have made the calls, sent the emails, done everything to try to get that last movement…but nothing happens. What can you do?

Here are five possible explanations for why a sale may be stalled;

1) Lack of perceived value. When you have too many things to do in the day, how do you decide which ones you will prioritise above the others? You do so in order of their value or the benefits you will gain by achieving those goals. Your prospects do similar things when weighing up your offer.

Ask, can the prospect articulate the value of what your offer will do for their business? If your offer doesn’t hit one of their top five business issues at the moment, they will likely stall the decision or at least postpone it until it does raise itself as a valuable issue to be dealt with. Make sure, then, you ask the prospect how the issue will be solved with your products or services. this puts it high on their agenda list.

2) Lack of differentials between you and the competition. Because of this, the prospect will spend time evaluating the differences and, hence, stall. If they can’t see the differentials very clearly, it may come down to price.

3) Lack of attention to a crucial business issue. Your solution has to hit hard at some of the challenges the prospect is facing now. If they can’t see how it will solve a specific problem or open up a big opportunity for them, they are less likely to see how your solution will work for them. They may say all the right things at the meetings, but find it hard to make the final decision because they’re not sure the spend will achieve things they haven’t already got.

4) Too big a risk. If they are already using someone else to supply the product or service, they may think the risk of changing supplier (or even adding your name to the supplier list) may be a step too far. They simply don’t want to make a mistake. You need to minimise the effect of any risk by giving testimonials, demonstrating your capabilities, offering guarantees or warranties, or free trials that will prove the capability at little or no risk.

5) Lack of decision-making authority. Many prospects like you to assume they are the key decision-maker. But the stall might be caused by them having to collaborate with other team members, and this may take some time. Ask your prospect at the meetings you have how decisions of this nature are made within the business. If other people have to be involved, see if it’s possible to get them involved as soon as possible in the process.

By finding out the true reason for the stall, you can then create a strategy to go forward with the sale and put more energy into the process, firing up the movement in the sale where the brakes were applied before.

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling

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Originally published: 18 May, 2011