Every sales professional has to overcome objections, deal with rejection and keep conversations moving forward in the face of difficulty. But sometimes the decision maker makes it all too clear that the sale is not moving forward to the deal closing table anytime soon.
Here are 5 statements from decision makers that show that the sale is not going to close:
1. “Let’s touch base on that later/let’s take this off-line.” Clearly the decision maker has objections, but what are they? Get out your shovel and start digging because your decision maker is not telling you what is really going on. One thing is for sure: your sales cycle is going to be extended. It’s time to have a heart to heart talk with your decision maker and get to the root of the issues that are blocking your deal.
2. “Your solution would be a big culture change for us.” Translation: Your decision maker wants to sound sophisticated and smart about slowing down the advancing sale. Often what the decision maker really means by “culture change” is, “I don’t know what’s going on in our business. But we’re not making as much money as we used to and you are scaring me with your new ideas.” When decision makers say “culture change,” they often mean, “our business isn’t ready for what you’re offering.”
3. “We don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to even implement your solution.” If you have been selling since the 80’s and 90’s, most of you are shaking your head in total disbelief at this objection. Yes this company is so broken that they cannot even fix themselves. This is more common than you think. What’s really going on here? You will never hear the decision maker say this in such plain English, but this is the translation: “Since we cut 50% of our staff, we’re each doing the job of 4 people, so we’re all really burned out.” Once again, “the time is not right” for your solution.
4. “That’s the million dollar question. I don’t know the answer and maybe no one does.” If you are getting this response to questions about ROI, timing and or implementation, you are not as far along in your deal as you think you are. If a decision maker is talking in these terms, that is a sure sign that there are some issues in the background that need to be addressed. When decision makers are talking about “the million dollar question,” they are really weighing their organization’s willingness to take the risk and raising doubts about whether you can do what you are saying you can do. When decision makers are talking about the million dollar question, this is all about skepticism. It doesn’t have to be fatal to getting a deal done, but your sales team needs to alleviate the decision maker’s skepticism as soon as possible.
5. “If we buy your solution someone is going to have to step up to the plate.” Translation: The decision maker is concerned about implementation, and is saying to you, “One of us is going to get this implementation done and it’s not going to be me.” This statement is usually coming from the CEO in one of your final meetings with the VP and other C level team members. This is very telling, as it indicates that previous implementations seem to end up on the CEO’s desk as his or her mess to clean up. Chances are this team is going to have another discussion without you present. After hearing this warning from their boss they may be coming back to you for certain guarantees of performance. The decision maker might still be ready to close the deal, but they are looking to offload risk of failure as they will be blamed if your sales and implementation team does not perform as you promised.
These statements from decision makers don’t always mean the end of the sale, but they always should be taken as a warning sign that your sales team still has work to do. Be prepared to alleviate concerns, reassure the decision maker about your implementation track record, and keep the decision maker focused on measurable immediate benefits and ROI. Decision makers want to buy solutions, not incur costs. Show them what they get, not allowing them to focus on what they pay, and you can keep the deals moving to closing, overcoming objections along the way.