I believe many sales are lost because the salesperson was not prepared. What I mean is that the salesperson is not prepared for a "no." How many times was a sale tracking and then takes an unexpected turn? It happens often, right? You were making a call to confirm an appointment or to give some information, and the client delivers the news, "I have decided not to proceed." We hate that and wonder where it came from. I'm a firm believer that in many cases it's due to not enough information. However, a key element is how the salesperson responds. If the salesperson is in a scramble or sell mode, the process shuts down because the client shuts down.
Regardless of how good your reads are, I have never seen a salesperson who can predict 100% that a client is closing. Most of the time, the client is in a different place than we left them. If you think of it as a scale from 1-10, we may have left them at an 8, but they may have slipped back to a 6. Even worse, they may be all the way back at 0. Preparation for advancement and slippage is critical.
Preparation should be as follows:
What will I do, if it has slipped back, to bring it back to neutral, or where we left off?
If they are right where we left them, what comes next?
If they have mentally checked in, am I prepared to bring it to closure?
As salespeople, we are often optimistic, and that's good. However, being prepared is better. When you get ready to make a call or go to an appointment, just change your approach on your mental preparation. Ask yourself, "If they slipped all the way back, what would I say, and where do I take it to get it back to where it was when I left last time?" Advancement may not be possible, but bringing it back to life can be critical. The goal here is to find out why they feel this way. What can you do to help them discover new information and can you continue the process? This may allow you to get it back on track. The key elements here are staying calm, listening, not reacting right away, and then offering to give them information to make sure the decision they make is well informed. Instead, many salespeople react defensively or begin to sell. Our role is to educate, not to sell. So ask yourself, " What could have come into play?" Ask that before you make that call or step into an appointment. By the way, not buying may just be the right decision. Let's just make sure.
We may find that our read is right, and we are right on track. What is the next step in the process, and are you prepared for that? This should be the easiest one for us to deal with.
Believe it or not, the client who has advanced beyond our expectations can be a challenge as well. You want to be ready for this. Ask yourself, "If they are ready to advance, what will we need to do?" What we don't want is to be giddy. We should be prepared for advancement if we did our job and expect this outcome, while still maintaining our composure. Being over anxious can create fear. You should respond with, "I'm not surprised to hear that, what we need to do now is...." This reconfirms that they have not made a hasty decision. Also, you should be prepared, if a step was skipped, that you may have to go back in the process. Sales die at every stage. You lose them at different places, don't you? I believe this is more out of lack of preparation for such a reaction, than what caused them to react.
So, maintain a positive attitude out there. However, if you prepare for the worst and expect the best, you will get the results you deserve.