Ask Questions, Stay Calm to Close More Sales With Tough Prospects

BY Jessica Helinski
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Not every prospect is going to be an easy sell. But there is opportunity to close more sales with tough prospects by being mindful about your actions. 

While you can‘t control prospects’ attitudes, you can control your responses — taking productive steps to increase your chances of closing, even when you‘re dealing with the worst prospects imaginable,” writes sales professional Marc Wayshak for HubSpot

Tips to close more sales with difficult buyers

Even when you’ve qualified properly, you may still find yourself struggling to close a particular prospect. Perhaps, they are indecisive. Or maybe they are haggling over price. Difficult prospects can trigger a variety of headaches. But if you’re determined to make the sale, it’s time to tap into specific tactics. 

If you’ve found yourself trying to plead your case, Wayshak recommends flipping the script. Invite the prospect to go into detail about their concerns, challenges or reservations. This can take some effort, especially if they have been reluctant to engage on a deeper level. 

Lead with open-​ended questions that demonstrate your empathy and concern. Make it clear that you care about their issues, as well as their hesitancy to buy.

With this approach, you’ll tap into their emotional side and break through the animosity,” he writes. 

In an article for Forbes, Dheeraj Prasad agrees that questions, asked with empathy, are key to closing. 

He writes, “Questions inspire and also help buyers discover, change and solidify their thoughts. This highlights an essential point about questions and their role in the sales process: Buyers need them.”

Take a look at these suggestions for open-​ended questions to ask. Also, here are some tips for understanding empathy in sales and how to build this soft skill. 

Stay confident and firm

While always necessary, confidence is needed even more when trying to close more sales with tough buyers. They will notice when you falter or feel uncertain. Don’t allow the situation to fuel self-doubt. 

Rhys Metler, SalesForce Search, explains, “Unwavering confidence is especially important when working with a tough customer. If customers sense you’re nervous, desperate to close, or are lacking confidence in your abilities, they could use this to try to leverage a better deal from you.”

Likely, a difficult prospect will inspire a range of emotions, from frustration to even anger. But sellers must keep control of their emotions and remain calm and patient. In addition to confidence, being patient and unfazed will keep you in control of the situation. 

As Metlzer points out, “Even though it’s not easy, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Keep your emotions in check. Remind yourself that it’s just business at the end of the day. If you allow your emotions to rule, a tough customer could use that to their advantage.”

And remember, you are guiding the prospect. Lead by example and maintain your professionalism. You’ll likely find that you can walk them through the storm to reach a deal on the other side. But you need to keep your composure. 

Will the sale be worth it?

Sellers always want to close more sales, but smart ones know when to walk away. If you’ve employed strategies to reach a deal, but the prospect still refuses, the deal may not be worth it. It can be a tough call to make, but an important one. If you find these tips don’t get you closer to closing, take a step back. SalesFuel has advice on how to gauge whether or not a tough prospect is worth the time and effort. 

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that in most cases, none of this is personal. “Tough customers are just part of the game of sales,” Wayshak writes. “They‘ll never go away, but it’s important not to take their behavior too seriously.”

And more even more advice on handling difficult prospects, take a look at SalesFuel’s other insights.

Photo by RDNE Stock project