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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Reasons You Can’t Close Business

reasons seller can't close businessOnce you present a solution to a prospective buyer or client, two things happen.

It becomes either Close Won or Close Lost. Close Won is obviously the ideal or desired scenario, but what happens when your pending deal is Close Lost? Is ALL lost? Maybe not. 

Ask yourself these three questions to determine if you can change a Close Lost scenario into a Close Won.

3 Things Keeping You From Closing the Business

1. Did you have a clear understanding of the decision-making process?

2021 Media Sales Report - download nowOften, we're meeting with and presenting to just one of the many stakeholders in a decision.

To help avoid this early on, set the stage for a successful first meeting by sending an agenda on the topics you’d like to cover and ask if there are other stakeholders in the decision-making process you should consider as you prepare for the meeting.

Even if you only get to meet with one person at the time of your appointment, you have set the expectation that you’d like to know more and learn more about others involved and you can prepare questions ahead of time.

There’s a decision maker but also decision-influencers to consider. If you don’t know who all of the stakeholders are and what criteria they are using to make or influence a decision, you’re at risk of missing the mark when you present your solution.  

2. Did you conduct a great needs analysis and get a clear assignment? 

When conducting your needs analysis, you should be gaining agreement on a handful of desired business results as well as the gain agreement on the desired business results your prospect needs help with and is willing to invest in a solution for now. Once the desired business results are identified and prioritized, you can hone in on an assignment to deliver a solution on what the prospect has agreed is most important.

Without this step of uncovering multiple needs and then prioritizing, you may find yourself presenting a solution that’s not a real priority and therefore, not likely to close.

3. Did you control your narrative every step of the way?  

The handoff of your proposal from the decision maker to others in their company can prove disastrous to any sale because you rely on others to explain or represent your proposal in words other than your own. On the flip side, getting all stakeholders in the room at one time can prove to be impossible, so what can you do? 

I recommend you control your narrative using shared screens for multiple people to join the conversation or if shared screens are not an option, record yourself presenting your proposal.  There are several free services available to do this.

One example is Vidyard.com, but there are many to choose from. Do a quick Google search and see what platform you’re comfortable with and send a recorded presentation as part of a recap to your meeting.  

If you feel any of the above might be why you didn’t close the deal, we recommend you attempt to take your Close Lost and try to connect with and re-engage your prospect with the understanding you have more information to uncover.

Transparency is key here. Be honest and let your prospect know you feel you missed something and would like an opportunity to have another conversation.    

If given a second chance, ensure you do these three things:

  1. Gain a better understanding of the decision-making criteria by all involved.

  2. Do a better job of asking needs analysis questions that lead to uncovering desired business results and a clear assignment.

  3. And if key stakeholders aren’t in attendance, find ways to present your solution in your own words such as using video or a recorded shared-screen presentation. 

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*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2019 and has since been updated.

Topics: Proposal sales strategy sales process