Clients Won’t Buy Until They’re Ready

How often does a sale get “stuck” at the 11th hour? Even the most talented sales professionals miscalculate a critical step in the client’s buying process and/or misread a buying signal. Unfortunately, this happens far too frequently.

So what can you do?

I’ve seen all types of strategies aimed at getting clients to sign on the dotted line. There are some clever ideas—and some pretty unethical ones, too. On the clever side, you can try to time stamp an offer, highlight the issue of limited supply or offer a discount to close a deal. These are not unreasonable approaches, as you need some level of control to effectively manage your business. The problem is that most “close” tactics don’t work because they generally focus on satisfying the interests of the seller.

If your deal gets stuck when you’re expecting it to close, let it be a reminder of what your role in sales is all about. This is your time to provide leadership, not pressure. Your objective is to help your client succeed—especially the client whose signature is on the contract. First, put yourself in his/her shoes. Buying on behalf of a company can be a scary proposition. Trusted sales professionals help their clients by taking the risk out of buying.

You can’t get a client to buy before they are ready, but you can help a client get ready to buy.

Try this approach.

Work with your client on a joint-close plan. A close plan is a clear set of steps, within both the buyer and the seller’s organizations, that moves a deal to the finish line. The steps may include signing off on a statement of work, establishing a master service agreement, obtaining board approval or establishing a purchase order.

Talk through each step with your client. Get on the same page regarding exactly what will happen at each step and agree on a target date. The sooner you create the close plan in the process, the better off you will be. An effective close plan leads to a positive purchase experience for the buyer and improved forecasting and demand planning for the seller.

If you don’t have a close plan, let me know. I can send you something. Hope this helps.

Happy Selling!

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