5 Reasons Why Your Prospects Are Stalling You

People at business meeting
••• Johner Images / Getty Images

Prospects are often in less of a hurry to buy than you are to sell. After all, you've got a hard deadline by which to achieve your sales quota; your prospects probably have a lot more leeway about when and how they buy. But some prospects will go beyond the normal relaxed pace of buying and keep on stalling you with one reason after another. They'll delay and delay and delay until finally, you're not really surprised to find out that the sale has gone to someone else.

So does that mean you should write off any prospect who keeps delaying you? Definitely not. It's true that if you just sit back and let nature take its course, a stalling prospect is a lost prospect. However, if you can pin down the real reason why your prospect is stalling, you may still be able to save the sale. Here are a few of the most common reasons why prospects will stall a purchase.

  • They Can't Afford to Buy From You: A prospect who doesn't have the money to buy what you're selling is unlikely to tell you so. Face it, it's embarrassing to admit to a near stranger that you just can't afford his products. Instead, someone with this problem is likely to throw up a smokescreen of objections and eventually fall back on stalling until you go away.
  • They Don't Trust Salespeople in General: Prospects have different levels of comfort with salespeople as a group. Some prospects who've been badly burned in the past take a whole lot more rapport building before they feel comfortable enough with you to buy.
  • They Don't Trust You Specifically: Maybe a prospect Googled you and found some negative comments or a friend of a friend bought from you in the past and had some nasty things to say, or maybe you and he just didn't click. Or maybe you didn't put in enough effort in building rapport with him. For whatever reason, a prospect who does not trust you is not likely to buy from you.
  • They're Afraid to Take a Chance: Change is a scary thing, and the bigger the change, the scarier it is. If you're selling a product that costs thousands of dollars (or even more if you're selling B2B), your prospects will be a lot more nervous about committing then if you sell a product that costs ten cents. Still, some prospects will need a lot more comforting before they're ready to buy, even for small purchases.
  •  They Don't Think Your Product Is Worth the Cost: Value is always relative: a benefit that one prospect finds extremely compelling might be no big deal to another prospect. If you haven't landed on the right benefits to offer your prospect, he might think that he can easily find the same product for less somewhere else.

You might notice that all of the above reasons have something in common. They are all related, to one degree or another, with a lack of trust in you. A prospect who trusts you will be willing to admit that he can't afford your product will feel safer about spending a lot of money on what you have to offer and will be more open about how they feel about the product's value to them.

At its most basic, a prospect who is stalling you is really a rapport problem. The solution is to find a way to make a connection and build trust with that prospect. Once you've done so, he should be willing to at least tell you what the real problem is and then you may be able to work with him to fix it.