The Greatest Threat In Sales Today – And It’s Not What You Think

What do you think is the greatest threat in sales today?  What is the one factor above all others that can scupper deals and hit your bottom line where it hurts the most?


Is it poorly performing sales people?  How about outmoded sales management systems?  What about not being well enough prepared to close a deal with a client?  Nope, it’s none of these.  Sure, they can all give your turnover a big kick in the unmentionables, but they are not your biggest danger.

The greatest threat that stalks every single deal, every relationship or potential relationship is shifting sands.

This is where something unexpected changes as a deal is progressing, ultimately leading to the customer or client pulling out.  It can happen at any point in the relationship, right up to the last nanosecond before they are about to sign on the dotted line.  Just when you think it’s game, set, match and handsome commission, the rug is pulled out from under you.

The number of possible causes of shifting sands is truly mind-blowing.  For example, a client could walk away because their management gets cold feet, or they’ve just issued a profit warning or been taken over by another entity.  There are so many variables that are beyond your control, and there is precious little you can do about them.  Or is there?

In fact, shifting sands don’t really have to be a problem at all, if you follow the old maxim of striking while the iron is hot.  Don’t sleep on it or dilly dally, or wait for the beginning of a new week.  Change can happen overnight.  When a prospect is in that delicious hot zone of buyer readiness, move quickly.  Here’s how:

Capitalise on their initial excitement

You’ve had a handful of great conversations with prospects and they are keen as mustard.  Don’t give their enthusiasm the chance to wane by delaying the drawing up of proposals, agreements or contracts.  Customers are in this enthusiastic zone for only a short period of time and this is where you must make your move.

Feed customer excitement

Listen closely to your clients and keep their enthusiasm going by appealing to both the logical and emotional parts of their brain.  Most sales are based on emotion, but that’s not to rule out logic.  Treat the two as a partnership and use both to get the sale.

Make the buying process simple

When a customer is ready to make a commitment to buy they want it to be simple and straightforward.  If you overcomplicate matters you will lose them.  Remove barriers so that the buyer continues to say “Yes, yes yes!” and not “Yes. Oh hang on a minute, this is irritating.  Actually, do I really need this now?  No I don’t!”

Think of how simple it is to purchase something on Amazon with their One Click Ordering.  They are masters of capitalizing on buyer states of readiness.

Get commitment from your customers

Sure, you’re committed to your client and will do things when you say you will do, but ensure you get commitment from them.  This is not a vague notion that they’ll call you back sometime tomorrow, but an actual pledge to do something more.

Stop Deals Slipping Through Your Fingers

As you can see, there is a lot you can do to either stop the shifting sands from moving too fast or preventing them from seeing the light of day.  When the opportunity for a sale is there, take it immediately and turn ‘yes’ into a firm signature.

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