Skip to content
Lucas HamonJan 31, 2017 10:29:00 AM10 min read

Stop Pressuring Sales To Close More Deals With These 4 Objections

Mirror mirror, on the wall, who should I make an example of today in order to close more deals? 

My last couple of posts have been about me venting from a sales mistake I made when I let my business owner instincts take over, and ignored all of the screaming coming from my sales instincts.

It really had me angry - at myself - for ignoring nearly 15 years in b2b business development, leading to 14+ hours of wasted time.

In the grand scheme of things 14 hours isn't that big of a deal, I suppose... It's not like the deal had legs, and I missed out on a great opportunity. I just wasted my time and a little bit of money - and I learned to trust my gut a little more.

But what if I told you that the MAJORITY of the deals you're having your BD teams chase down are just like that? ... uncloseable - today, sucking valuable time away from activities that could actually move the needle?

Here are 3 more signs that they're wasting their time, and that you should let it go.


MORE LIKE THIS: 10 Solutions That Unite Sales & Marketing


The signs are ALWAYS there - 

Okay, so I think this is it for me on the subject for awhile. I have closure, and can start moving forward.

We're starting with number 7 today, and giving you 4 more!

7: There are no others competing

It is always a bad sign when there are no other competitors bidding for the project. It means that they have very little to compare your company's services to. Now, they could always find somebody throughout the duration of the relationship, but if weeks go by and they STILL aren't bringing in others or at least actively trying to find other options, this can be a bad sign.

It's less bad if they have already tried exploring other options that just didn't fit, because that means your company's deal is not the first on the table, just the only one today, and they seem to be motivated to find a solution.

So, in this case, I wouldn't cut bait on this issue alone, but it would definitely make me more sensitive to the other red flags. Of all of the deals that died last year, the large majority did not have other competition on the table.

I also know that SOME businesses prefer it this way - because once prospects start exploring, they find better or cheaper alternatives, whether you're providing specialized or commoditized services. Nobody is safe. If you prefer this scenario, have you ever gone back to see the impact having no competition has on your sales numbers today vs 5 or 10 years ago?

I would love to hear from you if so. Are you seeing any patterns? I personally saw them everywhere in my own sales career. It's one of the reasons why I started an inbound marketing agency, actually. The idea is not to trick or pressure people into buying with fringe sales tactics, but rather, to help them find answers to problems you solve, and be the one they turn to when the time is right.

My best prospects are the ones who are talking to 2 or 3 other agencies. We are typically the ONLY inbound agency on the table, competing against SEO, social media, and email marketing firms. We do okay against other inbound agencies as well, but the dead ringers are those who learn about inbound through US and compare us to firms who deliver just one part of our entire delivery model (inbound incorporates ALL of those tactics, and then some - check out the methodology HERE).

8: They refuse to disclose sensitive info

I understand why people are paranoid about disclosing sensitive information. I do. You don't want your competitors knowing your weak spots or stealing trade secrets... or hacking into things.

However, if the services being pitched require knowing about sensitive information, then they should be willing to share it with your sales teams. Early on that may be challenging. And for those of you still implementing a rigid cold-calling program, this is one of the HARDEST things to accomplish.

When I was in corporate advisory services, this was especially challenging, because we were cold-calling business owners, and trying to find out about very sensitive tax information on the first call.

With roles reversed, I wouldn't give away information like that to ANYBODY who cold-called me, especially in the conversation. However, inbound leads are different, because THEY come to ME. THEY are the ones deciding that it's time to have this conversation.

They're communicating to me what's wrong by their words, the nature of the content they download, and the pages they visit and interact with on our website.

I recall a specific client who refused to let us see important tax information until we had already invested in several hours on the phone and in person. If it turned out that he had NO liability or was in AMT, then we just wasted a monstrous amount of time.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case... and he was able to eat up even MORE time.

But when he continued being evasive about sensitive information on the 3rd and 4th calls, even after signing an NDA, we should have cut bait.

But I wasn't allowed to. What I was told is that I just wasn't connecting with him and establishing a good rapport - even though I didn't have a history of that type of problem.

9: Your deliverable competes with their job

We spend a lot of time internally debating whether it's helpful to have a marketing professional working full-time for our clients, or if it's better if we're the only ones in there executing.

Sometimes marketing professionals see us as competition to their own jobs, and they're not always wrong. Many business owners see it as a one-or-the-other kind of situation, and sometimes that's because of their budget/cash flow.

It depends on how decisions are made, and the answers to a lot of these other questions I've been asking today - but being deferred to marketing or them playing a heavy role in the decision-making process CAN be a deal killer.

Before converting to inbound marketing, my agency was in the business of social media marketing services. I scaled a concept I developed during my days in sales, and it worked really well. We drank our own Kool-aid, and were able to line up a lot of really great opportunities JUST utilizing our own services.

The problems occurred in the closing stages because we would convince the business owners that it was time to re-imagine their social media marketing, even to the point of verbal commitments and setting up of our kick-off calls. And it was at that point that they would loop in their in-house marketing teams to finish the vetting process.

Every single one of those deals died, and every one of them was combative before I got two words into the presentations.

Clearly, they saw Orange Pegs Media as a threat. For the head of marketing, just by being there, we were implicating that they weren't doing their jobs, or at least that's how they saw it. After all, they were already attempting outreach through social media, but weren't seeing any tangible results, and I was showing them how to do it right.

SOMEbody's job was very likely going to be lost if we were hired, and they didn't know if it was going to be the person already executing their social media strategy or the strategist themselves. Both were failing to provide any value with it, so maybe even both...

For one thing, I don't think the owners should have handed me off to marketing without considering that point. But the fact that they did was a sign that they weren't totally convinced anyway.

It should not have gotten as far as it did without introductions to the marketing teams. They should have been looped in early if we wanted to avoid wasting our time. We either would have been rejected a lot earlier, or actually stood a chance of helping them envision how we could all work TOGETHER.

This pattern was actually a big reason why we converted to inbound.

10: Other services are a better fit

Sometimes our services are simply not the right or best fit for somebody at that particular point in time (or ever).

I don't know about you, but I'm more interested in having GOOD customers than just getting in the volume. I need to be confident in my proposals - knowing that we CAN and WILL deliver the value they are engaging us for.

But sometimes we're just not what the doctor ordered. Here are a couple of examples when WE'RE not the right fit, but somebody out there is:

  1. Looking for mega aggressive growth in the first year - inbound marketing takes time to take hold unlike your outbound efforts. Last summer I had a prospect who was looking to increase traffic from 2,500 visitors per month to 10,000 and quadruple their rate of client acquisition... all within 3 - 6 months. 

    I ended up recommending PPC ads, and sent them on their way. Sure, they were willing to throw a lot of money at us, but what happens when they don't reach their goals?

    PPC is something we do, but only in conjunction with inbound, and even though they kept saying they wanted an inbound plan, their goals didn't match up with that, and like I said before, I have to be confident that the plan I put on the table is going to help my clients reach their goals, and I just couldn't do it with these guys.

    They were actually pretty upset with me for bowing out, because inbound is quite convincing (mostly because it works), but imagine how ugly things would have gotten in 6 months when numbers are up, but still nowhere near their goals?

    What I think they ultimately decided to do was engage with a black-hat SEO agency, so they could get that immediate traffic result.

  2. The industry is outside our core strengths - We are a niche marketing agency. We specialize in inbound marketing for professional services, accounting and specialty tax firms, staffing agencies, software companies, and e-commerce.

    But we DO get interest from other industries, like gaming app companies, higher education, even companies selling marketing or cold-calling services (yes, I have actually vetted out multiple opportunities with companies that provide outbound call center services - clearly something isn't right with their deliverable!).

    Some will ask, "why not just take that other client anyway?" Well, there are a few different reasons.

1) I have to be confident in our delivery

2) We can be a lot more efficient with overlapping resources

3) People want specialists, not generalists

4) ... I'm people too, and I don't blame them

The client that had me steaming at myself doesn't fit this problem. They are definitely in our wheel-house. However, every one of those outbound marketing and sales agencies I mentioned were put to bed almost immediately.

11: There are way too many "what ifs"

If your deliverable is only an option under the occurrence of an extremely specific chain of events, the chances of a close are very slim. And if the chance of a close are very slim, I am NOT interested in having my sales teams spending time on them.

For example, I get a lot of early stage start-ups knocking at our door, with all of the potential in the world, but no solid ground to push off of. If funding or cash-flow are the issues, run! I'm not saying dismiss them altogether. They MAY be good candidates for your services one day, but they should be treated accordingly.... as a future prospect, not something that could pay the bills tomorrow.

Quick calls, informative guide, and a calendar reminder to follow up in 12 months. It would also be nice if you had a marketing program in play to nurture these types of leads (here's the playbook for generating, nurturing and CLOSING leads using inbound marketing).


CONCLUSION:

I think it's safe to say that it's probably time to tweak the way sales and marketing work together for your company. I'm happy to spend a few minutes with you determining whether inbound marketing is a viable solution. Interested in a quick call? If so, click HERE:

Schedule a growth assessment

avatar

Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

RELATED ARTICLES