It happens to the best of salespeople. Everything seems to be going smoothly with a buyer, with enough positive signals apparently there to indicate strong interest and a purchase decision. Then, when sales closing techniques are applied to get the commitment, they refuse to close.
When one has spent weeks or even months working on a buyer like this, just to be rejected at the end, it is aggravating to say the least. It feels like the person has “led you on.”
Of course, most buyers don’t have a hobby of annoying salespeople. Instead, there was likely a misreading of buying cues and an improper application of sales closing techniques for each rejection. For the most part, these deals don’t close because of some undisclosed objection.
Here are 5 closes to use when you lose deals at the end. They are designed to surface the REAL objections.
“Level with me”
One of the easiest sales closing techniques used when a deal has failed to close is rather blunt. Just say, “Level with me, what could I or my company have done better here?” By asking the buyer to “level with me” or “give it to me straight,” you are putting pressure on the buyer to give you an honest answer which will likely reveal the true objections holding back the commitment…which you can then handle.
“My boss is going to kill me”
This deal saver evokes the buyer’s sympathy. “Look, perhaps I was overconfident, but I told my boss this looked like a pretty done deal and he’s going to kill me now. I need to explain exactly why I couldn’t make you a customer today. Could you tell me what the main challenge is?” Delivered with charm, most people will take pity and give you some truthful objections. Emotional sales closing techniques like this can often penetrate even the most stubborn buyer’s resistance.
“Is there anything I can do?”
For this one, you might have to offer some form of concession, such as a discount, better credit terms, faster delivery, or anything else you have been authorized to bend on. “I’d really like to earn your business. Is there anything I can do to save this deal?” If they say “It’s too expensive,” you can always counter with, “how far away are we from the price you had in mind?” and then follow up with the Reduction to the Ridiculous Close.
“If cost wasn’t a factor…”
Some buyers are just adamant it’s too expensive even though you know they have the means to buy (you did your research, remember?) When you seem to be stalled on price, but suspect there is another issue, use this close. As you walk away, say “Please be honest. If cost wasn’t a factor, would you have proceeded?” If they say “Yes,” then handle the price objection using the Reduction to the Ridiculous or another method where you have been successful in the past. If they say “No,” then ask, “If it was not price, then what was the barrier?” Use the past tense, so it feels like an exit interview rather than another closing attempt.
One caveat: If you haven’t qualified properly and there are actual barriers from this buyer (no money or credit, for example), then it is best to move off the deal for the time being and nurse your wounds with higher probability business.