Time kills all deals – why sales slip…

Govsell Sales Excellence

I’m sure that any of us that have been involved in selling, have experienced deals that have gone quiet and eventually failed to close.

There are potentially many reasons for this but fundamentally and most often it comes down to this: “Your solution has not created enough value in the mind of the buyer to make the decision to sign the deal.” Inevitably, status quo persists until an alternative solution is selected or circumstances change, in any event all the hard work, emotional investment and costly sales effort have been wasted.

In simple, selling where the deal value is small and the decision-making process less complex - alongside lead quality, a good product or service and work rate - great basic selling skills can get you through. Age old sales techniques, which I’m sure most of us will be familiar with, like questioning techniques, features and benefits and sales closes can work.

But once the deal becomes higher value, involves multiple decision makers or purchasing structures then the basic selling skills alone are still essential but not enough to ensure you win. It becomes even more important to have uncovered and agreed enough relevant, realisable, and explicit value in your offer to tip the balance toward a buying decision. Value must be relevant to that specific customer, you, of course, know the generic advantages of product or service, but as sellers we can often make a mistake:

  • We assume that the buyer can interpret and apply the benefits to their needs just based on our product information or pitch and can understand how it offsets the cost, effort and risk of change. Uncovering value is a shared activity.

Every sale must start by uncovering or progressing an addressable need or want, either by the buyer who has realised an issue, or the seller who works with the buying organisation to uncover a need which can be addressed by their product or service.

Great questioning techniques coupled with a strong generic understanding of the likely issues being experienced by the customer or their market is a good place to start but if a deal is stuck or the buyer is hesitating, then you may not have done enough. If you want to get the deal moving again, then you need ask yourselves three fundamental questions:

Has enough value been created by your solution and recognised by the customer?

How do you know for sure this is the case?

Can you write down the customers value equation and show it favours the purchasing decision?

So, if you have a deal that maybe getting away from you, or you are just starting out on a first customer call, give some focus understanding Customer Specific Value. External deal coaching can have a role here but at the very least involve others in your organisation to make sure that you are delivering enough value to drive the decision.