By Kristina Witmer.
Witmer Group

Failing to close a deal is a natural, albeit frustrating, part of the lives of all salespeople. However, when it starts to become a recurring problem, some sales managers are often left wondering what’s causing the problem.

Far too often, they only focus on the symptom, not the actual problem itself. Failing to close a deal is merely the result of a chain of errors that weak or inexperienced salespeople tend to make.

We’re going to look at some of the primary reasons why your salespeople can’t close more deals—and how to take corrective action to ensure your sales team is made up of high-performing individuals.

Poor Leads

No matter how good your sales team is, if you continually give them poor quality leads, they will have a much harder time closing deals. If the leads that you’re giving them are from people who aren’t likely to have an interest or need for your service or product, the sales reps are facing an uphill battle right from the start.

Before you can help your under-performing sales team, you need to make 100% sure that you’re giving them high-quality leads. If you don’t have a source of good leads, you can always look into paid list generation services from companies such as Dunn & Bradstreet.

Alternatively, you can install and run software on your company website that will allow you to view the contact info of seemingly anonymous visitors. Such companies as LeadFeeder.com can help you generate a list of leads of people who have visited your website.

Sales Reps Lack Competitive Nature

Studies have shown that sales reps who are naturally competitive tend to perform exceptionally well at their jobs. This quality is a must-have for any sales rep. This winning personality allows them to consistently set higher and higher goals for themselves. Sales reps who aren’t competitive will do the exact opposite.

A great way to help encourage competitiveness throughout your sales team is to look into gamification sales software such as Agile CRM, Hoopla, and Ambition. Gamification uses psychological game mechanics, aesthetics, and dynamics to encourage sales reps to improve their performance.

Many successful sales teams will have a leaderboard in the form of a 55” HDTV turned on its side and mounted on the wall in the office. This forces the sales reps to continually look at their numbers whenever they’re at home base, and it has an additional beneficial psychological effect upon those who have a competitive personality.

They Aren’t Respected or Trusted

Lack of trust is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t buy. If prospective customers see your sales rep as someone who is just trying to make a sale, the trust factor is lost—and will remain lost for a very long time.

First, look at your management techniques to see if you’re pushing your reps a tiny bit too hard. Are they getting paid enough, or does their income rely on making that sale no matter what?

After you’ve performed a self-audit, look at a few of the last few deals that fell through. Did the reps come off like a proverbial traveling salesman? Or did they present themselves as a strategic partner—someone who is there to help the customer’s business?

The Wrong Close

No matter how great of a rapport your sales reps have built up with a customer, it all boils down to the close. Hard closes, such as “this is a limited time offer, and we need you to act now” very rarely if ever work. In most cases, had the sales rep not been so pushy, the customer would have eventually made a purchase. As the old saying goes, “the customer just needs a little more information to say ‘yes.’”

A hard close can only elicit one of two responses: “yes” or “no.” This puts the customer in an uncomfortable position, and the answer they give is almost always “no.” Have your sales reps use soft-close techniques, such as “If you buy “X” amount more of product, I can knock an additional 5% off the total cost and include free shipping.”

Eliminating Risk

In the B2B sector, many buyers are highly risk-averse—owing in part to them being burned before. This is why many B2B sales reps are often required to submit a data-intensive request for proposals and provide huge amounts of documentation on the products they sell. Even after all of the information has been submitted, the sales rep could still lose the deal.

One of the potential reasons it fell through is due to the buyer not being fully convinced that all of the risk has been eliminated. A good salesperson will understand the various risk factors that buyers look out for in their industry—and can intelligently alleviate their concerns.

 Close More Deals!

If your sales team is lacking in performance, review the above five tips, and focus your efforts on remedying the underlying causes of the issue—not the issue itself. If the sales team feels pressured into closing more deals, there’s an excellent chance their performance will stay the same—or worsen—as they focus less on building trust and relationships and more on making the sale.