Some sales are easier than others. On good days, everything goes like clockwork – but some days you find yourself battling a fierce competitor, working with a contact who doesn’t have decision-maker buy-in, or facing a prospect who doesn’t fully understand the nature of their problem (or who might not even acknowledge that there is one). When dealing with a difficult prospect, you need to tailor your approach to suit the situation.

While each difficult prospect creates a unique challenge, there are strategies that will help in almost any scenario. To increase the likelihood that you’ll close the sale, take an educational approach, personalize your solution, and focus on quality instead of quantity.

Take an Educational Approach

Gartner’s research with enterprise buyers shows this group spends only 32 percent of their time interacting directly with providers, their partners, and consuming provider content. This means that a full 68 percent of the time enterprise buyers, are researching your products and services via third-party sources: peer networks, influencers and analysts.

The bottom line is that prospects don’t want to be sold. They want someone to help them understand their options so they can make smart decisions. Offering that guidance will earn not only their gratitude, but a higher level of respect that may eventually lead to trust. Even if you’re not sure you can win the deal, make an effort to be helpful. Sharing knowledge that keeps a prospect’s best interests at heart can go a long way toward building a long-term relationship.

Personalize Your Solution

In a similar vein, it’s critical with any prospect – but especially with a difficult one – to customize your approach and sales assets to the industry and specific situation at hand. Few things turn prospects off more quickly than being shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all solution. Pay attention to everything the prospect says at each step in the sales process, then use that information to craft a personalized solution to their problem.

Study after study proves buyers expect and are influenced by personalized content. Recent research from Accenture found that 54 percent of B2B buyers polled cited personalized recommendations as one of the capabilities they’d most like suppliers to provide. Another study by Aberdeen group indicated that companies using sales enablement technology for content personalization have up to 21 percent stronger lead acceptance and up to 36 percent higher conversion rates.

Focus on Quality Instead of Quantity

Finally, use the data you collect from prospects via CRM, sales enablement, and one-to-one interactions to make smart decisions about when to continue your pursuit of the deal and when to cut your losses. Sometimes, it’s less about how many deals you land and more about the potential of those deals.

Educate your prospects, personalize your solutions and sales materials, and always keep a balanced perspective that values quality over quantity. These three sales strategies will always give you a leg up with difficult prospects and optimize your chances of closing even the most challenging deal.

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