How to help an indecisive buyer
Dial down the FOMO
One of the most frustrating things in sales is losing a deal to the status quo, aka the dreaded closed lost reason of “no decision”.
The early warning sign is usually a loss in deal momentum, which salespeople and sales managers can easily identify through monitoring deal age, time in stage and activity (eg meetings held, emails replied to).
The common strategies used to overcome a loss of momentum are usually some combination of the following:
Pushing on the critical event—“you said you need to launch by date X, so we need to sign a contract by next week in order to have enough time to implement.”
Manufacturing urgency—“this proposal expires at the end of the month. I can’t guarantee the same terms next month.”
Adding support for more use cases—“let’s add these additional features so we can support more of the org without having to go through procurement again”
Padding the ROI calculation—“we re-ran the numbers with the additional use cases and the ROI has increased from 7:1 to 10:1”
Creating FOMO—“everyone else is doing this now, so if you delay you will be behind the curve.”
The problem with all of these is that they don’t address the core reason why buyers stick with the status quo—their fear of messing up because they made a change.
Pushing a buyer to act now when they are afraid of messing up doesn’t work because their fear of messing up outweighs their fear of missing out. And loading up the order with support for more use cases only invites further stakeholders and further scrutiny, which compounds the fear of messing up.
Instead, the best approach is to get to the root of the problem because and indecisive buyer almost always has a concern that has not been adequately addressed.
Two of my favorite questions to uncover concerns like this are:
“Is there anything you’ve heard so far that is preventing you from moving forward?”
“Is there anything we haven’t discussed that is holding you back from making a decision?”
Once you understand the concern you can focus on addressing it directly in a helpful, non-salesy manner. The most common approaches are:
Product—product-related concerns are usually grounded in the buyer having an edge use-case that they see as super important. Explaining in clear language how your product addresses their concern and doing so in a helpful, non-salesy manner demonstrates transparency, which in turn builds trust.
Service—service-related concerns are usually grounded in the buyer having had a bad experience with a previous vendor relationship. Reviewing the project plan for migrating off their status quo solution onto yours is a good way to resolve this as it demonstrates your commitment to being a partner instead of just a vendor, and further builds trust.
Scope—reducing the scope of your solution (and the resulting deal size) reduces the risk and scrutiny and gives your buyer a way to build proof points to pave the way for future growth. Taking a proactive approach here demonstrates your commitment to helping your buyer be successful internally in front of their peers and boss and further builds trust.
What other approaches have you seen work with indecisive buyers?
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