Sometimes even the most slam-dunk deals hit a roadblock, leaving the salesperson or business owner grappling with just how to move the transaction to a successful close. A deal that seems lost in purgatory can be hard on even the most seasoned sales professionals. The bigger the sale, the more tormenting it is to wait it out. That’s why sales – and business ownership, for that matter – are simply not for the faint of heart.
A customer’s reluctance to sign on the dotted line can be due to any number of common factors. Obviously, the prospect had enough interest in your offering to land them on your radar and send them down your sales pipe, so what exactly is the hold up?
Here are some of the most common reasons for prospect reluctance:
1. Doubt About the Product or Service
Uncertainty regarding the performance of a product or questions regarding the efficacy of a service are leading causes of buyer hesitance. When customers are not confident that an offering meets their needs or will deliver the results they seek, they often stall out. This is a dangerous spot for a salesperson or organisation to be in, as it is the most probable time that a prospect will be lured away by the competition, maybe even at a higher price point.
2. It Ain’t in the Budget
Speaking of price, financial considerations can play a huge role in prospect hesitancy. For larger purchase orders, buyers sometimes need to reallocate budgets or consider various financing options. Even simple deals can get mired down in the budget approval process, leaving sellers frustrated at the promise of the close being just out of reach.
3. Too Many Decision Makers in the Kitchen
Some organisations have lengthy, complex, and often inefficient decision-making processes. Or they might need to pitch the purchase to key stakeholders higher up the food chain. B2B decision-making dynamics can be notoriously difficult on a sales organisation, as it sometimes seems that no amount of follow-up information or carrot-dangling can move that process along any faster.
When dealing with a reluctant prospect, there are tried and true sales tactics that can help move that sale forward to close.
Recognise the Buyer’s Fears
Don’t dispel a buyer’s reservations about your offering or consider their reluctance an argument you need to win. Instead, put on your listening ears to truly understand their concerns. Gather insight by asking open-ended questions, then listen hard so you can address any underlying and often unspoken objections. By recognising a prospect’s concerns and then addressing them in an honest and forthcoming way, you build trust and connection – and are much more apt to get that deal closed.
Share Success Stories
Case studies and testimonials are a great way to alleviate buyer reluctance, particularly for those customers who question the value or efficacy of your offering. If you don’t currently have printed or digital collateral like this, consider adding it to your sales arsenal. Be sure to only cite satisfied customers who are willing to attach their name or business to their testimonial; attributing a quote to a set of initials does not instill confidence in a reluctant buyer.
Sweeten the Deal
If it makes sense, provide additional incentives to move the sale along. The most obvious option here is to offer a price reduction. Or you might propose more advantageous payment terms. Other incentives that can spur on a reluctant buyer include extended warrantees, free shipping, bundles, or upgrades. As long as the incentives you propose are financially sound, then make those reluctant prospects an offer they can’t refuse.
Put a Fire Under It
When appropriate, instill a sense of urgency in a slow-moving decision-making process. Consider offering the reluctant buyer a limited-time promotion. The best approach here is to be forthcoming and transparent about the time element, as most buyers are inured to exaggerated or contrived urgency.
In short, the key to moving a hesitant buyer forward to a successful close is to listen, learn, and lean in.