How To Prevent Last-​Minute Deal Disaster

BY Jessica Helinski
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When you don’t close a deal, sometimes the reason is obvious. Other times, you may be left scratching your head over where things went wrong. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Steve W. Martin writes about common reasons salespeople don’t close deals, some of which may not be obvious to the seller.

He cites a survey that found only 12% of buyers say B2B salespeople are “excellent” and 23% said they are “good.” Unfortunately, he writes, “the underperforming salespeople lack the self-​awareness to know that buyers don’t value them, nor do they understand why. They don’t take the time to figure out why they lost a deal or longtime client.”

Interviews with the buyers reveal seven reasons salespeople fail, and these can serve as lessons for your own career.

One reason deals fail is because salespeople are too self-​centered. Buyers do not feel that the seller cares about them, instead only caring about making a sale. According to the survey, buyers believe:

  • Salespeople are only serving their own agendas (44%)
  • Salespeople only care about making the sale (25%)

As the survey shows, buyers are not feeling the love from sellers, which is a major threat to deal-​making. It’s imperative that you make the buyer feel that he or she is important to you and that you care about the prospect and his or her business. “Instead of focusing solely on revenue,” Martin suggests, “salespeople should concentrate more on helping buyers accomplish their goals.” Consider how you can show prospects that their issues are important to you and that they are more than just a dollar sign.

This tip, along with the others discussed by Martin, will help you adjust your behavior and strategy to meet the desires and needs of buyers. This insight will help you avoid common mistakes that can kill the deal AND help you connect with buyers.