Sales Behaviors That Can Break Your Deal

BY Jessica Helinski
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Certain sales behaviors can be deal-​breakers. A recent study revealed which ones are most aggravating to buyers, and this latest insight into B2B buyer preferences can help sellers adjust their own behaviors. The survey, courtesy of Korn Ferry, examines what sellers do that hurt their chances of making a sale, and the results highlight the need for credibility, value and communication.

Sales behaviors to avoid: The top 3

According to the survey, there are specific behaviors that can negatively impact a buyer’s decision-​making. Below are the top three deal-​breakers, according to the study. If you engage in any of the following, it’s time to rethink your process and make some changes.

  1. Not understanding the buyer or their business.
  2. Talking too much/​Not listening
  3. Not being supportive post-sale.

Not understanding the buyer or their business

This sales behavior ranked highest among buyers as the biggest deal-​breaker. Over half say that sellers must have a fundamental understanding of what the buyer does. Time is of the essence, and it seems that today’s buyers don’t want to waste time with a salesperson who just doesn’t get them. Buyers don’t want to waste time with sellers who offer solutions that don’t match their goals or soothe a pain point. And they certainly don’t want to waste time with a salesperson who comes into the meeting totally clueless. Unfortunately, they are still having to do all of those things.

Research on the part of the seller is vital. Sellers must engage in thorough research of the buyer and their business, as well as their industry and competitors. Doing this pre-​call research will ensure that as soon as the meeting begins, you are able to keep pace with the buyer. As Korn Ferry points out, “Buyers want sellers to be prepared. They expect sellers to know about their role, industry and business challenges.”

To avoid committing this common deal-​breaker, download SalesFuel’s free e‑book, The 7Cs of Pre-​Call Intelligence, to learn the best pre-​call practices so you go into each meeting knowledgeable about the buyer and their business.

Talking too much/​Not listening

Traditionally in sales, there wasn’t much emphasis on back-​and-​forth dialogue; instead, sellers focused on delivering their pitches and wowing prospects with their words. This sales behavior just doesn’t appeal to modern buyers. Korn Ferry's research revealed this, and SalesFuel's Voice of the Buyer report also found that sellers talking too much is a deal-breaker.

Today’s successful sellers engage in consultative selling, which requires genuine connection and engagement with a buyer.

Asking relevant questions and engaging in active listening are two ways that sellers can ensure they are making the buyer feel heard. Specifically, as SalesFuel suggests, active listening best practices include:

  • Slowing down and consciously making the effort to listen to the words the buyer is saying.
  • Ensuring that you understand their meaning. Probe further if you aren’t sure.
  • Validate and clarify. Repeat back a summary of what the buyer said, so they can confirm or correct your understanding.
  • Then, and only then, decide on your response or your next question.

Consider how your conversations go with buyers: Are they a back-​and-​forth dialogue or more of a monologue on your part?

Not being supportive post-sale

There is so much emphasis on closing a deal that the post-​sale engagement and service may fall to the wayside. The survey revealed that many buyers are not happy with sales behaviors after a deal is made. This is a missed opportunity for reps to not only delivery customer service, but to encourage loyalty, strengthen rapport and drive referrals.

There are so many ways reps can engage with clients, starting with asking for post-​sale feedback, which not only can help better serve the client, but also improve on your processes. “Whether it’s reaching out with a support call or sharing an article of interest [you] can improve…credibility and business when [you] make improved customer experience a core activity,” SalesFuel’s CEO C. Lee Smith suggests.

How do your own sales behaviors compare?

Use these findings to examine your own behaviors. By aligning your sales practices with what buyers want, you're making it that much easier to close a deal and keep clients loyal and happy.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels