Does Your B2B Closing Technique Include This Strategy?

BY Tim Londergan
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I’ve recently learned of a B2B closing technique that combines several familiar tactics. It’s not so much the methods involved but the mindset it triggers that makes it compelling. Let me lay it out for you.

Forbes contributor, Roger Dooley has a knack for ferreting out better business procedures through behavioral science. In this article he features Matt Dixon, author of The Challenger Sale and The J.O.L.T. Effect. Both works focus on methods that will help you overcome customer indecision and lead to closing more sales.

A Corrected Approach to B2B Closing Techniques

Dixon studied more than 2.5 million recorded sales conversations to analyze results. In doing so, he found that customer indecision was responsible for 40% to 60% of failure to close. Regardless of buying signals, completed product trials and positive intent, a huge number of buyers simply got cold feet.

Typically, when sellers sense a customer’s interest cooling, the tactic is to focus on breaking the status quo. Instinctively, they’ll underscore what the customer will lose or miss out on. “This will ramp up the FOMO – fear of missing out.”

However, Dixon advises “addressing the real issue – FOMU, or fear of messing up.” Buyers can get in trouble for making costly mistakes. Therefore, doing nothing may seem like their safer option.

Share Your Strategy. Qualify Your Prospect

Essentially, when you discover and understand the buyer’s fear of making a mistake your job becomes easier.

A previous SalesFuel post advised sellers to share their closing strategy at the first meeting. This path encourages sellers to judge the customer’s ability to decide as well as their ability to buy. Simultaneously clarifying important features, options and outcomes will help your prospect focus on what truly matters for their needs.

Equally important, information overload can leave buyers feeling paralyzed — wanting more but understanding less. A proper B2B closing technique requires sellers to curate information and highlight the most relevant to avoid overwhelming the customer.

Recognize the Buyer’s Anxiety

When buyer indecision is blocking a deal, you must get to the root cause. No amount of sales training, scripting or coaching is going to get them over the hump without understanding their fear.

Critically, empathy and patience are skills you must develop to help your buyer overcome indecision. Matt Dixon, this time writing for Harvard Business Review, speaks to a psychological effect called omission bias. In this context, as above, customers are much more worried about messing up than missing out.

Although difficult to detect customer indecision, it’s even more difficult for customers to admit and reveal these deep personal fears. Dixon lists the three biggest drivers of indecision as:

  • Valuation problems
  • Lack of information
  • Outcome uncertainty

Your B2B closing technique must address these elements to move toward a mutual agreement and close the deal.

Consider Dixon’s J.O.L.T. Method

In their research, Dixon discovered that top reps intuitively devised a playbook of their own beyond the status quo option. Their techniques reduced the barrier presented by the FOMU pattern to win the decisive aspect of the sale. They dubbed this approach the JOLT method:

Judge the level of customer indecision” – Listen for signs of commitment and make a qualifying determination — early on — whether to proceed with this prospect.

Offer recommendations” – After establishing a high level of trust, sellers can make a strong personal recommendation from an authoritative perspective.

Limit the exploration” – Instead of providing endless data options, guide the customer to the best decision possible.

Take risk off the table” – Finally, offer creative safety net options that make the customer feel like they have some assurance of success. These may range from opt-​out clauses to highly tailored contract structures.

The JOLT B2B closing technique will qualify the customer, limit options, minimize risk, and relieve the threat of customer indecision.

Photo by Cottonbro studio on Pexels​.com.