Seven Signs A Deal Is Falling Apart, and How to Save It

Six Signs Your Deal Is Falling Apart, and How to Save It

Throughout my sales career, I had prospects I was certain were going to sign on the dotted line, and then the deal fell through. Disappointed and surprised, I moved on, lamenting the loss of that potential client, and the fattened commission that would have come along with it.

After a few of these happenings, I began to analyze each instance, and realized there were signs I missed that these deals were going awry. Over time, I became savvy in recognizing these “clues,” and adept at circumventing the sale from going down the drain.

Typically, there were six signs the deal was falling apart. Here they are, along with valuable intel on how to save them.

Focus on price.

Ah, the pain of dealing with competitive pricing. We have all felt it. Sure, every client aims for the price that fits their budget, but it shouldn’t be their only interest. If a lead is constantly talking about price instead of benefits and value, you have issues. This deal is primed to sprout wings and fly away from you at any moment.

How to save it. Accept price is an integral component of the negotiation, but it’s not the only thing. If you sell on price alone, you set yourself up for someone to undercut you by a quarter and steal it.

Focus on selling value. What need does your product or service fill? Is your staff more experienced, your training more in depth, your lead-time shorter? All of these value points should outweigh price in your discussions with a would-be client. You are more than merely a dollar amount.

Hedging on details.

Sometimes the “whole truth” is tricky. Explaining shipping costs, time to integrate, and other nitty gritty details can feel like you are practically talking your prospect out of doing business with you. It’s tempting avoid these discussions because they are uncomfortable. Gloss over these details at your detriment! Buyers who discover elements about their purchase are missing or incomplete feel duped, trust bolts out the window, and the deal dies a quick, painful death.

How to save it. Be confident in your ability to close the sale, even when sharing the finer points of the deal. Build your credibility from the beginning by being timely, dependable, and following through with every promise you make. When the time comes to discuss the nuts and bolts of the purchase, sit down and explain each detail, ask if there are questions, and calmly address any objections. Handling it this way increases their connection with you and solidifies the partnership on stable, honest ground.

Missing the prospect’s specific need.

You may be able to offer the best snow shovel on the market, which is great, unless your prospect lives in Florida. Sales professionals who find themselves trying to serve a need that the buyer doesn’t have sets them up for failure, and the deal is likely to end up melting like a snowman in June.

How to save it. Listening and learning is everything. From the first connection through the demo and negotiation, clever sales people ask solution-based questions, and build their strategy around the answers. Is the prospect concerned about turnaround times, compliance, after-sales training, or something else? Knowing the buyer’s motivation is key in presenting an informed approach the drives the deal to a productive fruition.

Not clicking with buyer.

Naturally, I would like to think everyone loves me. And most do. Every now and then my personality just doesn’t connect to the buyer’s. One time a huge prospect got offended that I signed my email “Thanks” instead of the more professional “Thank you.” It almost cost me the deal. A buyer may think you look like her horrible x-husband, your name may be the same as his hateful co-worker, or your personality just might rub him or her the wrong way.

How to save it. Don’t keep plodding ahead, trying to make them like you! For the love of the bottom line, put your ego aside and bring someone else into the selling process. If you sense the buyer doesn’t vibe with you, talk to your manager, and immediately get him or her involved before the deal goes south.

Failing to talk to the decision maker.

Selling life is a dodgeball game of gatekeepers and obstacles that keep us scrambling to verify we, indeed, are getting face time with the right person. Sadly, trying to close a deal with a person who is not the decision maker is a waste of time, and one of the easiest ways to tank a sale.

How to save it. Start qualifying from the beginning. Ask if any other people should be involved in your conversations, and listen closely to any mention of “let me run this by Ted, our VP.” If your contact offers even a tidbit of evidence that someone else makes the decision, jump on it and make meeting with them your goal. Otherwise, your deal is dead in the water.

Chasing your competitors.

We all deal with competitors that make us gnash our teeth and pull at our hair. If your targeted prospect keeps mentioning this competitor’s pricing, and delivery, and warranty, your deal is as shaky as a clubhouse built on an ant hill.

How to save it.

Avoid chasing your competitors with “us too” language. Differentiate yourself and your company throughout the buying journey. Engage specific, measurable talking points about how you are different, better, stronger, and are an overall better business partner. Don’t wait until deep in the sale to start this. Let each buyer know all the way through why choosing you and your product or service is the best move.

We sales professionals spend too much time and resources cultivating leads to let them slip away. Fire up your sales spidey senses and catch these six signs your deal is falling apart, and challenge yourself to become proficient at launching a rescue counter-attack. You will be a better sales person with a greater closing ratio for your efforts.