How To Salvage A “Failed” Close

Have you ever had a prospect seem excited initially, but then back away and lose interest for no apparent reason?

Ever wonder why? Well, there is the simple answer. And it relates to you, as the salesperson: Your attention was on the wrong thing.

Most likely you were thinking about what you need instead of what they want; a potentially fatal mistake when you’re about to seal the deal.

Think about this for a minute. Don’t you feel the same way when you’re the customer? If you sense that the salesperson is only interested in what they’ll get out of the sale, don’t you tend to lose interest in doing business with that salesperson?

I know I do. Unless it’s a small sale of a particular product, I need at that moment. In this case, I’ll put up with them, but only if I never have to see them again.

But there is a difference between a small sale and the large sale.

In the small sale, the customer is focused more on the immediate benefit they’ll get from what you are selling. In this case, product knowledge comes in handy.

But in the large, multi-layered selling situation, you are selling a relationship more than you are a product or immediate benefit. Now it gets personal. You are building a relationship based on the perception of value for the client over the long haul, whether a product or a service.

In the large sale, often you’ll be involved in ongoing post-sale interactions, sometimes for years, and unless you develop a friendly connection and rapport from the beginning, then even if you do close the sale, you’re going to have difficulties in the long run.

Also, it’s a two-way street, as the customer feels the same way. They’re evaluating you to see if they will enjoy the process of working with you over the long term. And if they feel at all uncomfortable with this aspect of the deal, then instead of finding a way to make it work, they’ll start to back out and look for an excuse to stall the deal or drop it altogether.

This relates to one of the natural laws of closing:

LAW: What the customer wants is always more important than what you need.

And don’t think they can’t sense it if they detect any micro-signal that you’re thinking more about the commission that you need, instead of how to give them the help they want.

Get used to it, customers are only interested in their problems, not yours. And the more attention you have on your money problems, the harder it’s going to be to seal the deal.

But all is not yet lost. If you do happen to find yourself in this situation where they’re backing out “for no reason,” here is something you can do. There is a little bit of magic about this, but it can’t hurt and once in a while it actually works.

Occasionally you can salvage the “failed” close by immediately shifting your attention away from what you need, and putting it back on what they want.

After all, they do still want the added value and benefits you’ve presented, don’t they?

And when you bring this up, it tends to shift their attention back to why they were interested in what you are offering in the first place.

It’s a natural law of selling that attention follows attention, but this concept also applies directly to closing sales. If your attention shifts to helping them get what they want, their attention tends to shift back to that purpose as well.

LAW: Attention follows attention.

Once they start imagining getting what they wanted again, their attention shifts away from backing down from the deal, and goes to finding a way to make it happen. The result is a win for both of you.

Adjust your methods to align with this natural law of closing; you’ll close more deals and you’ll both walking away smiling.

Daniel Jacobs
© 2015, all rights reserved

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