You’ve got the perfect solution for your prospect. You’ve shown her how much it could benefit her company. And yet, you keep hearing that it’s just not the right time. Or it’s too much change. Or there’s not enough buy-in from various stakeholders. Or it’s not in the budget. Chances are, those are not the real deal killers. So, what is stopping your prospect from signing on the dotted line?
Why they’re just not buying it
A study conducted by the FORTUNE Knowledge Group and Gyro, a marketing agency, revealed that 62% of executives often rely on “gut feelings” and “soft factors” when making decisions. This has big ramifications for sellers. As Gyro’s CEO pointed out, “Business decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally.” This means that even though their stated reason for not moving forward may sound purely rational, the real reason may be far more subtle, lurking beneath the surface of a polite rejection. You could call it the objection behind the objection. I call it an invisible deal breaker.
Here’s what they’re really thinking
While you’re making an airtight case for the deal, your prospect is wrestling with all kinds of emotional, subjective questions and uncertainties such as:
- “How will this deal make me look to my boss (or my team members, or even my peers)?”
- “Will this require too much political capital to push through our organization?”
- “If this engagement goes south for any reason, will I get the blame? If so, what will that do to my career?”
- “I’ve got so much on my plate right now. Do I even have the time and energy to make this decision – let alone act on it?”
- “I’ve been burned in the past by vendors like this. How do I know that won’t happen again?”
- “Is it really worth rocking the boat to make this happen?”
Change your talk track
How do you override the emotional talk track running through their heads? You’ve got to change your own talk track. Instead of just relying on hard facts and rational arguments, create a message that speaks to the emotional side of the brain. This doesn’t mean your message has to address every personal fear or insecurity of each individual buyer. But it does mean your message needs to connect with people on a “gut” level. Otherwise, you’ll never be heard above the noise of their internal talk tracks.
Here’s how it works in real life
Not long ago, we worked with a client that sold massive, highly complex software solutions to senior executives at major financial institutions. These buyers are some of the most analytical and rational personalities out there. Yet even in a situation like this, you can’t ignore the subjective, emotional side. (You’re still talking to a human.) So, instead of leading with a logical, numbers-based argument, we built the message on a big, underlying fear – not keeping up in a fast-changing world. With a rally cry around staying ahead, they now have a pitch that goes straight for the gut.
Take a second look at your sales messaging
We’ve seen this play out over and over when developing messaging and positioning for clients. At first, you’d think the rational argument would be enough to clinch the deal. But we almost always find that prospects still need a more emotional argument to override the emotional talk track running through their heads. If you find yourself running into an invisible brick wall in sales conversations, try looking at your sales messaging through this lens. Is your core message simply a logical, objective argument? Or is it a message that speaks to the prospect’s underlying emotions?