Four Obstacles to Closing a Sale

By Brian Tracy

There are several reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult. First and foremost is the skepticism of prospects and their fear of making a purchasing mistake. Because of negative buying experiences in the past, prospects are conditioned to be suspicious, skeptical, and wary of salespeople and sales approaches. They may like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. They are afraid of making a mistake, paying too much, and finding it for sale cheaper somewhere else. They are also afraid of being criticized by others for making the wrong buying decision, buying an inappropriate product, and finding out later that they should have purchased something else. This fear of making a mistake in buying your product is the major reason why people object, hesitate, and procrastinate on the buying decision.

The second major obstacle to selling is the fear of rejection, criticism, and disapproval experienced by the salesperson. You work long and hard to cultivate a prospective buyer and you are very reluctant to say anything that might cause the prospect to tune you out and turn you off. You have a lot invested in each prospect.  If you are not careful, you will find yourself being indecisive at the end of the sale, rather than risk incurring the displeasure of the prospect by your asking for a firm decision.

The third reason why the end of the sale is difficult is that customers are busy and preoccupied. It isn’t that they are not interested in enjoying the benefits of your product. It’s just that they are overwhelmed with work and they find it difficult to make sufficient time available to think through your recommendations and make a buying decision. The better the prospect, the busier they tend to be. This is why you need to maintain momentum throughout the sales process and gently push it to a conclusion at the appropriate time.

The factor of inertia is the fourth reason that can also cause the sales process to come to a halt without a resolution. Customers can be lazy and are often quite comfortable doing what they are currently doing. Your product or service may require that they make exceptional efforts to accommodate the change or a new way of doing things. They perhaps recognize that they would be better off with your product, but the trouble and expense of installing it hardly seems to make it worth the effort. They see no pressing need or urgency to stop doing what they are doing and start doing something else.

The good news is that everybody you meet has bought or will buy new products and services from someone, at some time. If they don’t buy from you, they will from someone else. You must find the way to overcome the natural physical and psychological obstacles to buying and then hone your skills so that you are capable of selling to almost any qualified prospect you speak to.

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action. First, recognize the normal fear of making a buying mistake experienced by the customer. Give him or her every reason you can think of to be confident in dealing with you.  Second, accept that everyone you talk to is busy and you are interrupting. Always ask if this is a good time for him to give you his undivided attention. If not, arrange to see him or her another time.

Brian Tracy addresses more than 250,000 people each year on the subjects of management, leadership, and sales effectiveness. He has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and written 26 books, including his just-released books “Time Power” and “Million Dollar Habits.” He can be reached at 858-481-2977.

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2005]

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