Losing a sale can be a really frustrating experience. You’ve been working on your potential customer right from the first time you identified the opportunity. Then you spent multiple hours, engaging with them, prepared your recommendation, completed the tender and then finally, you proposed your solution. You followed up waited for weeks on end and then the communication went dead and you rightly feared the worst!

All those efforts consumed a lot of your time and energy which could have been better spent with another potential customer who would have bought from you. It just frustrates the hell out of you – and costs you money to lose that sale. The best way to win your next deal, is to understand why you lost the last one. Here are some of the top reasons customers don’t buy.

Lack of Trust

If you’re in sales, you have to understand that you are dealing with strangers, and they have never heard of you, your company and your product/service and you have gain the buyers trust.

Put frankly it’s like a man walking into a women’s only sexual health clinic and saying “trust me I’m a gynaecologist!” What’s the chance of those women trusting the man’s comments straight off!

Customers want to be able to trust the person (and company) that they’re buying from. If your prospects don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. The biggest challenge with trust is how easily trust can be lost. Trust is difficult to gain and easily and quickly lost. If you work hard to build up trust, then protect that trust, and your chances of closing the deal improve greatly.

Selling to the Wrong Decision Maker

You’ve got a great solution, and you’re selling to the right company, however the person you’re visiting with doesn’t have the position, power or authority to be able to buy the product. Without doing proper research, it’s easy forget the importance of checking out what purchasing power our contact has and to make sure you get in front of the right person with decision making capabilities.

It’s too easy to get caught up selling to the person who is your point of contact and learn the reality that they can’t make a decision. Throughout the research and discovery process you must always clarify the roles and the authority of the person you are presenting to. If they can’t make the decision to purchase, ask them to help guide you to the person who can- but be careful not to alienate the person you have been speaking with initially – the secret is to keep them involved.

Customer Indecision

When I was selling M&E maintenance contracts to businesses I learned that most of the sales I lost were not to my competitors, but to NO ONE. It wasn’t that my customers didn’t purchase from me, they didn’t purchase anything from anyone else either. The decision not to purchase happened even after we clearly identified a need and the benefits of the solution.

Your customers simply have multiple projects and with competing priorities, which makes it easy to do nothing. As salespeople, we have to make sure our proposal is compelling enough to persuade our potential customers to act now, to view our solution as a top priority, and to embrace it as the best move for their business.

No apparent urgency

If your customers have deadlines and they need to achieve results by a set date, your chances of providing a solution to them will increase greatly. As an example sales people selling M&E and facilities Maintenance Contracts will know that they have to know the expiry dates of the incumbents maintenance contracts in those buildings that they are targeting

Find customers who have deadlines and position your product or service to them in a timely manner that coincides with the buying cycles that are imposed by these deadlines. I.e. Create your own deadlines too – make sure you have called them 3 months prior to the contract renewal dates. Make them discounted offers that expire on a given date. People will want to take up the savings that you are offering and will buy now rather than later, if they know that the offer will disappear.

The purchasing process was too difficult

Some companies make it to difficult to purchase from them. When it isn’t easy to purchase from a company, customers will take their business elsewhere. I used to buy things occasionally from Currys, however when I went in one day to buy a toaster, I remember that it would take about 10 minutes to fill out the paperwork and for them to try to sell me an extended warranty just to buy something as simple as that. Why couldn’t they just let me pay cash and then take the toaster. As a result, I stopped going there for fear of getting sold something I didn’t want or need.

Those purchases were 10 years ago and I still remember those encounters years later. Find out ways to make “the process” of doing business with you and your company as simple as it can possibly be. Many of your customers will buy where the path of least resistance to the solution is offered. Position your company and solution at the end of that path.

Your proposal wasn’t clear enough.

Every offer must be clear. Check the following list to make sure that your proposals answer the following questions. These are just a small sample of questions that your customer might be thinking but not asking. If they don’t ask, and don’t get the answers, they might not make the purchase. Increase your chances of closing this business by making a clear offer.

  1. What is the scope of your offer? What is included, what is excluded? Don’t go overboard. Just make sure that most of the reasonable questions are answered in the scope.
  2. What other items will be required of your customers before you can close the transaction. i.e. a credit check, a signature of the proposal.
  3. What are the next steps after the order is placed
  4. How long will it take to receive the solution that is being offered.
  5. Is there any additional instruction that I will need in order to receive the full benefit of the solution.

Improve the clarity of your offer and you will increase your sales.