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Why do so many positive sales opportunities fizzle out?


written by Chris Bourne

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We’ve all been there, making a phone call or sending an email and receiving positive selling signs from a prospect, only to get a few months down the line and your ‘hot lead’ has become colder than an Eskimo eating an ice cream. But why has this happened? You gave the perfect sales pitch, you kept in touch with the prospect and they were a ‘fit’ for your product or service. In this blog post I’ll outline the key reasons why your prospect has fizzled out and what you can do to overcome this hurdle.

1. Our innate resistance to change

According to studies by the data-driven consulting firm Sales Benchmark Index, up to 60% of qualified leads are lost to ‘no decision’. More often than not, prospects decide to do absolutely nothing, which means not buying from you or your competitors. The reason for this is that people don’t resist change; they resist being changed. Even in a fast moving, technologically advanced world our brains remain prehistoric and instincts take over. Not that we put down our iPhones because of a sudden urge to hunt down a woolly mammoth with a spear, but our mindset of staying safe is the same as it’s ever been. Maintaining the status quo seems like the safest option; in reality, it’s not.

What can you do?
You need to build rapport and gain trust with your prospect. It’s natural to proceed with change if it is recommended by a trustworthy source. This will take time and nurturing to slowly change your prospect’s view. Looking for quick decisions can raise their anxiety levels and further halt momentum in the sales process. After all, your prospect will have a lot to think about – will this change diminish their department’s productivity? Will costs increase? Will it demand too much of your time? Give them time, understand their situation and deepen the conversation so that they don’t go back to the safety of the status quo.

2. The ‘change balance sheet’

Your prospects will have important perspectives that they may not share with you at any point. It’s like an intuitive balance sheet weighing up the pros and cons of the status quo verses the change you are offering. 60% of your prospects haven’t sorted through their balance sheet sufficiently to yet make a decision.

What can you do?
If possible, offer additional data that solidifies the reason for change. For instance, case studies from existing customers or analytics that proves your change is beneficial. By communicating your value to coincide with your prospects perspective of their pros and cons will help them organize their own ideas, which will in turn into a decision.

3. Judgment day

Your prospects may be wary of being judged; again, it’s human nature. They may avoid change just so that they’re not scrutinized. They could feel this way because they have never heard of your solution and feel as though they should have in their role or maybe because they already know they aren’t working efficiently and don’t want someone else pointing it out to them.

What can you do?
Firstly, avoid using ‘hot words/phrases’ such as “wow, that’s a horrible problem!” or “you must waste a lot of time?” Negative words such as ‘horrible’ and ‘waste’ express judgment and stifle your prospects motivation for change. Instead express curiosity such as “so how do you organize your time and decide whom to call first?” This will give you a supportive stance and increases the chance your prospect will consider change.

4. Guide your prospect, don’t push

This is an apt time to use the expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” (I’ve been waiting to use that expression since I started writing this article!) My point is that you can do everything to facilitate change but it’s up to your prospect to justify change themselves. By guiding them and not forcefully selling, you’re instantly minimizing resistance.

What can you do?
Follow the 80/20 rule. Listen to their concerns for 80% of the time and talk for 20%. You can ask your prospect about their current difficulties or challenges and address them in your recommendation using their exact language. They won’t object to their own words.

Do you need help managing your prospects? Our CRM system may be beneficial to your daily sales planning. Give us just 20 minutes to show you our software.

Written By -

I'm the Marketing Manager here at sales-i and being in marketing I obviously love crayons and of course I have a toy Chewbacca on my desk (fully equipped with the 'Maaaaaarh' noise! I have worked in the technology industry for over 7 years and have a good grasp on what's happening in the industry. I also enjoy* the technical side of software development. *The term 'enjoy' relates to the very few occasions where the techy side actually goes to plan, otherwise replace with the term 'gets frustrated'.

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