I once had prospect who I thought would buy within a month. After the presentation, she asked about pricing and requested a written quote and contract. However, during the presentation she also mentioned that they had a ton of projects going on, but ours looked good. I think I somewhat disregarded the part about the ton of projects. Shame on me.
That month came and went. No word from her. She finally responded to an email I sent about new features in our software and a promotion we were offering. Great, she said. Send me a contract. Once again, I dutifully followed orders and sent her the updated agreement. This went on a couple more times until I decided she was just leading me on and was never going to buy. But I always remembered her initial reaction to the software. Reluctantly, I closed the opportunity and started sending her a piece of valuable information, that would help her business, every month or so.
One day, to my surprise, the order came in. She apologized and said that they had completed all the required projects and could now focus on our software. The lesson: Listen to people when they tell you something. It’s natural to hear what you want, but that can cause you a lot of angst. Don’t attribute your feelings about the deal to your prospect’s real intentions. Don’t be a mind reader.
Sales Homework – Think back on deals that have not closed and see if you missed or glossed over something your prospect said that could be important. Call and/or send them an email resurfacing that objection and see if it resonates with them. If so, stick with it.
Sales Managers – Make active listening a part of your coaching and sales training. Salespeople are naturally optimistic. But they need to be realistic.
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