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Turn No Decision Made – Into a Real Deal

Depending on which articles your read; whose studies you consider, it is said that as much as 60 percent of business deals are lost due to indecision.  The prospect opts to hang tight to the “status quo.” While there are times that it’s prudent to keep the status quo most of the time doing so inhibits progress. Historically had our nation not undergone challenges to change the status quo we would still be attending the Church of England; plantation owners would still be buying slaves to pick the cotton, and women most certainly would not have the vote.  Without challenging the status quo we wouldn’t have advances in medicine, science, and technology, nor would we be searching the Universe for a backup plan.  Embedded in the very definition of life is the condition of change.  Without change; without growth all things die or get swallowed by the competition, especially in this age of technology.  Each prospect that you talk to who chooses to make no decision has their reason.  The trick is to learn their reason and address their concerns by opening a dialog.  Dig Deeper.495868_87652466 Respect Prospect’s Perspective  Even a “no decision” is based on something.  You prospect knows their balance sheet and they know the team under them.  They may see all change as a risk, whether the company is still trying to gain a solid footing or is in a comfortable holding pattern.  Rule of thumb: Remember, when your mouth is open, your ears are closed.  Let your prospect lead the conversation, and then reflect back your understanding with questions and comments that prove you are hearing what they said. Example: “I hear that your current system is effectively meeting your needs when it comes to call volume, but that it doesn’t track activity history at an ideal level. How does that affect your analytics?”  A pro/con dialogue will give insight to both you and your prospect.

 Validate the Difficulty of the Change Process

Discuss the different aspects of the change process ahead of time.  There should be no surprises at the eleventh hour. Keep the conversations real and compassionate about how the steps will affect the prospect.

  • It will cost time.  Production may have to slow while new software is implemented and the users are trained.  Time lost may show a temporary drop in revenue.  The new efficient system will quickly make it up and continue to push revenue up.
  • It will take energy.  It will take structured effort to get everyone trained and comfortable with the new system.  Schedules will have to be coordinated for training, and progress fastidiously monitored.
  • It will take encouragement.  Reassuring reminders about the benefits of the new software during the training process will ease the transition. When you know your product everything seems simple, but to the person trying to learn it, not necessarily so.  Take care not to assume that everything is understood.  Check and recheck.  Patient, consistent re-enforcement will get the job done.

Give Control of Change Process to Prospect

It’s important that the prospect has control of the change calendar within reason, and that they choose the initial trainees.  When customizing the software to meet specific needs, it’s crucial to keep an open dialogue and gain approval for significant modifications.  Avoid buyer’s remorse by encouraging conversations that addresses any fears that develop during the transition, and make it comfortable for the prospect to put all issues on the table. 

Just Guide; Don’t Take Over

There are two ways to teach.  You can do it and let the learner watch, or the learner can do it while you watch.  The fact is, people learn better with their hands on, and your position as just a guide will result in a smoother process.  Mistakes during training are a great clarifier of understanding; easily fixable.  Guide, and resist the urge to take over. Dissecting the sales process and digging a little deeper into the reasons for no decision being made will payoff for all concerned.  Build long-term relationships through communication.        

Deborah Elliott, a transplant from Northern California now calls Texas home. While she is currently part of the team at ShadeTree Technology, she holds a Masters in Special Education, and has to her credit a stint as editor of her city paper in the mid-1980’s. She built her writing career writing feature stories and a newspaper column entitled, “Matter of Opinion” that ran in both California and Mississippi. In 1987 she was recognized by the California Teachers Association for her contribution to education through journalism. Authoring the company newsletter for Raymus Land Development, a prestigious home builder in California’s Central Valley allowed her to take her writing endeavors down a new path. Elliott is also the author of multiple works of fiction that are currently available as electronic downloads on Amazon.
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