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Does it ever feel like your prospects are irrational?

After all, if you present compelling information that clearly demonstrates how and why your solution addresses their needs, the rational thing would be to sign on the dotted line (or at least move toward a purchase decision). Yet, a lot of prospects (most?) don’t do that.

Some seem disinterested in continuing the discussion at all, while others simply drag their feet.

When this happens, it’s tempting to think that you just need to give them more information or be more clear—that obviously, they just aren’t getting it. Why does this happen? Here are five of the most common reasons why buyers resist your perfectly logical proposals:

  • You’re pushing information when the prospect simply isn’t ready for change. As Sharon Drew Morgen has observed, information alone – no matter how compelling – won’t motivate a prospect to act, unless there is internal buy-in for change.Organizations rarely consider a new path if their current situation isn’t causing them significant trouble. Doing nothing is almost always less risky than making a change. Even when there is a clear pain in the organization, and even when people realize that change is needed, you can still be a long way from an internal buy-in for change.
    One successful approach is to look for triggers that signal when a prospect is in the window of dissatisfaction™.In a recent webinar by Craig Elias, he explains how you can win the deal 74% of the time by following this approach.
  • You’re too focused on providing good content and not enough on providing the content in a format that aids the decision process. Delivering compelling content is essential, however, there are two additional elements crucial for change: identifying all parties that would be affected by the change (buying your solution and all it entails), and helping them understand how it compares to alternative approaches.One way to make content that aids in the decision process is to tailor it to the interests of different stakeholders in the sales process. You should map the political motivations and sentiments of the buying team members and consider a solution like Consensus that makes it possible for those buying members to find the content they care about most.
  • You’re so focused on getting the prospect to make a purchase decision that you forget to focus on all the mini-decisions along the way. Salespeople are trained to keep their eye on the end goal—closing the deal. As a result, prospects feel they’re being asked to jump straight from Point A, directly to Point Z.Instead, try gradually guiding prospects through the decision process in chunks.Help them get from Point A to Point B and then to Point C. It’s important to remember that gaining buy-in for a purchase is a gradual progression that builds trust. When there are multiple people in the buying team, they will likely each have their own time-frame.

    Research by CEB Global has found that, on average, 5.4 people play a role in B2B buying decisions. You’ll need to be an orchestra conductor giving attention to each at the right time and tempo.

  • You concentrate too much on getting prospects to take the next step in your sales process, rather than offering them a choice of paths that are more natural to their buying process. Perhaps you are already providing prospects with incremental steps that lead toward purchase, as we discussed in point #3.If so, that’s great. But you should be aware of a potential pitfall: there is often more than one path to a purchase decision. Some buyers want to move to trialing as a means of understanding your solution.Others want detailed specs they can review and compare to other options. In many cases, prospects aren’t 100% sure about what they want.

    It’s your job to explain the various paths so they can select the path best suited to their situation. And keep in mind, that they could lose their way and need you to point them back in the right direction.

  • You’re steering toward an outcome so forcefully, that you overlook the importance of simplifying the process itself, allowing the desired outcome to occur more naturally. Sometimes salespeople suffer from myopia. They want to close the deal so much that they aren’t aware of obstacles that are impeding progress.Remember that purchase decisions have emotional aspects. The prospect may be highly risk averse. If that’s the case, have you done everything you can to minimize their fears? Alternatively, the prospect might feel overwhelmed and confused about the evaluation process. Whatever the case, think about what can you do to simplify their life and smooth the path toward purchase.

Now that you’ve reviewed the 5 common reasons for resisting logical proposals, ask yourself whether you still think your prospects are acting irrational. Think of a current deal where buyers seem to be a little insane and which of these steps you can take to modify your approach to closing the deal.

Don’t YOU be insane. Take one of these steps to get new ideas on both selling and sales technology.

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