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To win deals, you must recognize why your buyers don’t buy.

There may be nothing worse than pursuing your dream client only to have them fail to buy from you. The following list includes common reasons your prospective clients don’t sign a contract, even though they need to improve their results. The list is significant, so you should study it and learn how it applies to your situation.

  • Comfort with the status quo: The fact that the client is comfortable with how they are doing things now doesn’t mean they need not change. Some suggest you cannot compel your prospective clients to change. This is incorrect, and here is why. The best way to position yourself as a trusted advisor is to help your client before they are harmed.
    • Data point: A study by HubSpot found that 72 percent of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company that helps them achieve their goals.
  • Lack of trust in the salesperson: There are several ways you can generate a lack of trust, starting with a lack of credibility, reliability, or intimacy. While each of these will cause a client to refuse to buy, being self-oriented is a dead giveaway you are selling for your reasons instead of helping the client. You would be better off with an extreme other orientation, one that would cause your client to trust you.
  • Economic climate: Try as you may to get your client to act now, a poor economic climate is enough to have your clients wait for the economy to turn around. Your client may be worried about spending money or keeping their cash for a future time when the economy improves. If what you sell will save the client money, or if it increases profitability, you may move your client.
    • Data point: A study by Deloitte found that 60 percent of businesses say they are delaying or canceling investments due to economic uncertainty.
  • Fear of making the wrong decision: More than ever, your clients may fear making the wrong decision. No one wants to be responsible for making a decision that may not improve results, let alone suffer the damage to their reputation. A new outcome you will need to master to win your client’s business is the ability to provide the confidence and certainty of success.
    • Data point: A study by Gartner found that 70 percent of B2B buyers are not in the market to buy when they are first contacted by a salesperson.
  • Competing salesperson: This one stings like a wasp. You did the best you could to win your client’s business only to find out your contact and their team “Decided to go a different direction,” and that direction is towards your competition.” If you prefer not to lose, this might help you.
    • Data point: A study by Forrester Research found that 60 percent of B2B buyers say they have had a negative experience with a salesperson in the past year.
  • Budgetary constraints: We often talk about buyers who don’t buy because of the price, even though there may be good reasons not to spend the money. The first reason a prospect might not buy is that they have a low-price model, making it impossible to spend the money without harming their financial model. If you can improve your prospective client’s profits after the greater investment, you may win their business.
    • Data point: A study by IDC found that 44 percent of B2B buyers say they have had to delay or cancel purchases due to budget constraints.
  • Perceived value versus cost: Understanding the difference between the price and the cost is important. Whenever your higher price doesn’t lower the cost, you may have a contact suggest that the value is less than it needs to be. If you can’t help your client to understand how the higher price will improve their results, they are not likely to buy from you.
    • Data point: A study by Nielsen found that 59 percent of consumers say that price is the most important factor in their purchasing decisions.
  • Overwhelmed by choices: When buyers explore their options, they can find that different companies do things differently. As they continue to meet with sales organizations, they can struggle to make sense of the information and the different ways they might make a change. Often, more information only makes it difficult to know how to move forward. The salesperson who can triangulate the different options will have an advantage over those who continue to pile on more information.
    • Data point: A study by Salesforce found that 42 percent of sales reps say that the biggest challenge they face is getting prospects to understand the value of their product or service.
  • Uncertainty about future needs: A decision-maker may stall because they are uncertain about the future. When there is no consensus about what the client will need, it is easy to wait until they know what they will need. However, there are ways to help the client better understand what they will need in the future, especially if you can help your contacts know what they will need to pursue change.
    • Data point: A study by Aberdeen Group found that 67 percent of B2B buyers say that a lack of understanding of the product or service is a major reason for not buying.
  • Do it yourself: Occasionally, a prospective client will do it themselves instead of buying from you and your company. Most of the time, the dream client believes they can produce the same results, even though what they could accomplish pose no match for the better results you could produce faster and for a lower price. You may push back by comparing the additional money the client will spend to do what you could do for them.
  • Concerns over execution: Your contacts may worry you will fail them, whether they will be there to support them, or if you will continue developing your solutions. Any sign that hints you may not be able to support the client may cause them to stall or go dark. You should talk about execution, as well as the learning curve you and your client will need to manage to provide their desired outcomes.
    • Data point: A study by Forrester Research found that 65 percent of buyers say that they would be more likely to buy from a company that provides them with excellent customer support.

Why They Say No

These 11 reasons buyers say no have one thing in common. They emerge because the client worries about getting a decision wrong. It’s important to know that buyers rarely make these decisions enough to be confident in making an important change.

Your job and mine is to sell in a way that can overcome these obstacles to buying. If you believe selling is challenging, know that buying is even more difficult. The better we learn to sell, the greater our ability to engender trust from our clients and our prospective clients.


Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 26, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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