Sales Talk: Why deals die after a great conversation & how to fix it

Communication is the single most important and most powerful sales tool. The problem is most salespeople are not very good at it.

sales team and sales leader
INSIGHTS IN THIS GUIDE

I hear it from sales representatives and leaders all the time. They brought all the firepower to their meeting, but the deal died.

Yes. It is important that the meeting with your prospect goes well and you communicate everything properly.

But, that’s not the most crucial thing:

It’s more vital to know which meeting the decision will be made. Most salespeople have no clue where, when, and how the decision will be made.

Instead, they float deals, hoping that the buyer connects the dots.

Why you're not closing deals?

If you’re not closing your deals, it’s because you’re floating it.

Let me give you an example. In basketball, there’s a shot called a floater. You’re controlling the trajectory from where it takes off on your fingers to the ring when you shoot.

A floater is where you shoot the ball upwards, controlling only the trajectory to the apex or the absolute peak of an arch, then you let gravity do the rest.

Statistically, a floater is a less probable shot because you have less control. You’re relying too much on gravity. You assume you’ve got the ball to the right apex, with the right amount of force and angle, but success comes from another agent– gravity.

In sales, most people go into a call or meeting and float it, get it to a certain point, and hope that the prospect will do the rest – prospecting gravity.

They need the prospect to do the rest of the work for them, having got it from A to point B.

And that’s why their deals are dying. The sales rep needs to control the whole thing.

A salesperson needs to put it on a track and go from A to Z. That’s a shot.

In sales, most people go into a call or meeting and float it, get it to a certain point, and hope that the prospect will do the rest.

The "Retellability" problem

In his TED talk, Why communication goes wrong…and how to fix it, Tim Pollard coined the term “retellability” or “representability,” arguing it to be the most critical communication tool in sales.

The problem is salespeople fixate on the wrong meeting, a meeting that is not the most important.

Why? Because the decision didn’t get made in that initial meeting. And, it’s a meeting you don’t get invited to join.

The decision-making body (buying group) will decide on the sale at this meeting.

So, if you are not in the decision-making meeting, you’re retellability is more critical.

It changes the way we think about communications because rather than fixating on the first meeting – ensuring your message is crisp, clean, and compelling to sell to that individual.

You need to guide it to achieve a second meeting success.

Now that’s a profound realization; otherwise, you’re floating the shot.

So, how do you shoot to guarantee success?

  1. You need to know where the decision is made.
  2. Create your pitch geared towards who, when, and where the decision is made.

Let’s look at how you do this more precisely.

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Know where the decision is made

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As a salesperson, it’s your job to determine where and when the decisions will be made. And more importantly, you need to know the decision-maker(s) in the organization.

So, ask yourself:

  • Will the decision be made at your meeting?
  • Will the decision be made immediately after your meeting?
  • Will the decision be delayed by hours, days, or weeks?
  • Will it be made at the office or remotely?
  • Whom are you meeting with? What is their role?
  • Will you meet with one or both co-founders?

Now, am I saying every first meeting with a prospect will not have the decision-making body? No.

But more often than not, the buying group is the second meeting.

So, I am arguing that it is your job as a salesperson to know your audience.

The problem is salespeople fixate on the wrong meeting; the wrong meeting. Why? Because the decision doesn't get made in that initial meeting. And, it's made in the meeting you don't get an invite to join by the buying group.

Pitch to your decision-making audience

Shape your audience's beliefs

To solve your “retellability problem,” Pollard argues that you must create a crisp, straightforward, ideas-driven narrative that focuses on shaping the audience’s beliefs.

To pitch to your prospect, you need to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Needs (decision): What do I want my audience to do?
  2. Beliefs (big ideas): What does my audience need to believe?
  3. Proof (data): What does my audience need to know to believe that?

Now, Pollard also advocates pitching an ideas-driven narrative because he believes it is the most retellable story that is sticky to the brain.

Remember: it’s the meeting you don’t get an invitation to where the decision-making body will decide on purchasing your deal.

Now, if you’ve prepped your guy in the first meeting – got ideas to stick– that person can carry that message more accurately and effectively into the next meeting.

Understand that you will not be able to deliver the final blow; the person you’re speaking to is the conduit who will provide the final blow.

It’s like giving them a play and having them understand you can’t do it for them; they need to be able to do it.

But we still encounter the same problem: the problem you’re still relying on them to execute it.

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Be calculated

This is where I deviate from Pollard.

I argue that salespeople need to be more calculated.

Pollard says, “tell the story, in that first meeting, that you want them to retell.”

I don’t buy that. Salespeople need to be more calculated.

Don’t tell them the story that closes the deal.

Tell them the story that they need to tell to close the deal.

Remember: it’s the meeting you don’t get an invitation to where the decision-making body will decide on purchasing your deal.

You need to control the trajectory of the shot to the deal close.

And it needs to be made foolproof to the point where you design your pitch to force this person to act as your conduit.

You need to brainwash this individual who will brainwash the real targets.

sales team

Arm your conduit

Pollard’s suggestion is to provide proof and data that affirm their decision.

In other words, you arm your conduit or prospect with the right resources and materials that force your decision-making audience to arrive at the decision you want.

You may arm this person with:

  • sales collateral
  • survey audit
  • briefs
  • projections

Arm them with anything they need to get your actual audience, your decision makers, to arrive at the decision you want them to make.

That’s how calculated we need to be.

If you pitch to close the deal, that’s a floater. You’re hoping the prospect will take it to the real decision-makers and put the close into their hands.

You’re floating if you’re not speaking to all the decision-makers and going for the close.

Inevitably, you know that that’s not going to close; you blew it on one guy, who may or may not tell the story properly.

You’re trusting them too much.

Be more calculated and shoot straight. Or, you’ll never close more deals.

Rose Garden Sales Accelerator Process
We evaluate your compensation structure, tech stack, sales playbooks, sales strategy, sales process, hiring and onboarding to ignite revenue growth.

Can your sales team close deals?

Is your sales team struggling to get your prospects to buy in? Yes.

Do you know how to find creative solutions to these issues preventing progress in your company?

Can your sales team be innovative and familiar?

Let me be clear, if you were going to find the solution to your sales problems, you would have seen and solved them by now.

It’s likely you need support and help to solve them.

Rose Garden is solutions-focused, so if you want me and my team to ignite your revenue growth, we will do so with our Sales Accelerator Process and Team Assessment.

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

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