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Buyer's risk: signs you won’t close the deal

Buyer's risk: signs you won’t close the deal

Customer concerns about risk really can be an end of cycle sales killer, so in the final stages before you close a deal, it is essential to address or mitigate the prospect's questions or concerns.

Losing the sale at this stage is, of course, the worst possible outcome, since it means that the maximum investment of time and money in pursuing the business is lost. That could involve weeks of your hard work down the drain, leaving little time to pick up other business in order to meet your targets.

For many salespeople, winning or losing just one major sale can make all the difference between a very successful year and a very poor one. So being able to recognise the signs which indicate when you might not close the deal based on risk, can be invaluable.

Signs you won’t close the deal;

Limited communication

Even the best strategy may not be enough to prevent those late cycle fears from developing and to make matters worse, it is unlikely that customers will openly admit they have concerns about making the decision to work with you. So what are the signs that they have such fears?

Huthwaite’s research into late sales cycle concerns shows that worried customers often cut off communications.

People who have always returned calls stop doing so, decisions may be delayed, and new people (often more senior managers) may suddenly become involved in the decision making process.

Where customers do communicate, questions may be raised or requests for further information made about issues already covered and apparently resolved earlier in the sale. Demands made for penalty clauses or for phased payments to be included in contracts are often signs that the customer is trying to protect against perceived risk. Instead of just negotiating such issues, try to uncover and handle the risks that lie behind the demands.

The critical factor is to look for signs that things are not progressing in the way they were before. Over the weeks you have been in contact with the customer, regular patterns of behaviour will have been established. If these change, it could be an indication that all is not well and someone important has concerns about proceeding with you and your solution.

Clear, effective communication is key to securing the deal throughout all stages of the process. Find out more about how conversations can help minimise buyer concerns in our free guide ‘Concerns - the end of cycle sales killer: The 12-step plan to creating confidence in your solution.’

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Negotiating on price

The signs mentioned above could be an indicator that the customer has concerns about making the decision and if steps are not taken to handle them, the sale may be lost.

Sadly, the salesperson may never know that risk is the real cause of the lost sale because customers often give price as the reason for rejecting the bid.

In reality, customers often use price as an excuse to let the seller down gently.

While this may encourage the seller’s organisation to respond by offering a lower price, even a substantial discount won’t be enough to win the business if the customer has real concerns about the supplier or their solution.

At Huthwaite, we conducted research into fifty lost sales where customers had given the high price as their reason for rejecting a suppliers' proposal. We found, from interviews with the decision makers involved, that in 18 cases out of the 50 this was true. However, in the other 32 cases, the real reason was the customer’s concern about the risk involved in making the decision.

How to secure the deal

Ultimately, you’re not going to win every pitch.

To give yourself the best odds, however, you need to be confident in your offering. Whether it’s a service, product, or software - you need to positively address any potential concerns on the horizon by focusing on them in your sales pitch.

Whether this is explaining your price point, meeting members of the team, or breaking down every element of your involvement, reassure your buyers that you’re the best people for the job.

Close with confidence

Our sales experts have distilled everything we know about how to up your odds of closing a deal into one simple guide. If you’d like to win more deals, download your free copy of ‘Concerns - the end of cycle sales killer: The 12-step plan to creating confidence in your solution.

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