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Six Buyer Excuses and How to Respond

By March 14, 20232 Comments
buyer excuses

We, as salespeople, are prone to look at the bright side of everything we hear. By nature, we want to accept everything said to us. We are positive people.

My deal is awesome!

My client loves me!

My deal is definitely going to close this quarter!

Well, maybe not, because you may have been told one of the following buyer excuses:

#1: “I am the decision maker.” – This is the classic of all deceptions. This can also be followed up with “…so I do not want you talking to anyone else.” People who tell you this are often fooling themselves into believing they have the ultimate power. In a complex B2B sales cycle, there is rarely one decision maker. You are dealing with a variety of different influences and opinions.

Your strategy should always consider the fact that decisions will be made by a blend of many agendas, priorities, and relationships. Therefore, your opportunity should stand out as the best choice for all stakeholders involved.

#2: “I am very interested. Please send me a proposal.” – This is the classic easy way out of a “no, thank you.” This statement often occurs at the end of a meeting or discussion, even when interest was piqued, they do not want to share their disappointing answer. For most of us, bad news is always easier to share later.

Never spend time creating a proposal without first gaining the commitment of their time to co-create the business case if it meets certain conditions.

#3: “The decision is going to be made on price.” – Unless you are in a totally transactional sale, this is rarely ever true. In a B2B sales environment, there are always multiple influences that will come into play from people who are not interested in price. They are driven by impact and improved metrics which go beyond just price.

Remember, our mission is to find the other buyers and influencers and broaden our value proposition. By doing this, you can differentiate your offering in a way that best aligns with the needs of the business while fostering long-term relationships.

#4: “I will come back to you on this next week.” – About 700% of the time, this means they do not really have an interest in what you are offering, but they do not want to confront you with it – giving you the bad news will be easier next week. Afterall, you might not follow up. Plus, they can always ghost you with, “I am busy.” Human beings typically hate conflict and would rather just smooth things over without disappointing you.

This is the time for you to broaden your relationships again as a way to create stronger momentum. Be sure to follow up, as they may have gotten busy focusing on other priorities. Spread out your follow-up efforts over the course of the next few months.

#5: “The procurement process will be easy.” – It never is! Understand that procurement has a job to do, and they need to show their value in the process. Many deals have been stalled and then defeated by procurement.

Build executive support for the procurement process and agree upfront how you will precondition procurement to make the process faster and easier for both sides. Get a handle on the procurement processes early and definitely do not leave it till the last minute. It will be to your detriment!

And finally…

#6: “I have no time available in the next two weeks.” – While this seems innocent, it clearly indicates the project is not high on their priority list.

In order to keep the momentum going, there are two questions to get answered – 1. Who can help progress the project in the meantime? 2. What internal motivators within the organization could you leverage to make a delay in the project a priority for them to address?

It is not uncommon for salespeople to encounter these six buyer excuses on a regular basis. Even optimistic and confident salespeople can fall prey to these excuse tactics. It is important to remain vigilant and objectively evaluate each situation so you are not swayed by overly optimistic expectations.

Personal Challenge:
Next time you are faced with a buyer excuse, do not just accept it. Ask if there are concerns or objections. You may be surprised at the breakthrough it creates. Be ready to respond if they do share. If they do not share, then follow up at the agreed times. Kind, professional persistence can pay off.



Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • PHIL CHAPEL says:

    Outstanding insights.
    Phil Chapel,
    Brussels, Belgium

  • Dan Himmerich says:

    Another fantastic article, Kevin. The hidden message here (for me, anyway) is how we internally rationalise getting “stiff-armed”. I’ve spoken very recently with sellers who have said almost verbatim what is in your article = “we’re busy for the next 6 weeks, we’ll engage after that”, and “sounds very interesting, please send me a proposal for how you fit into our growth agenda”. We maintain a glass-half-full attitude because that is how we are wired. Objectively, we need to be better attenuated to the stiff-arm, and more professional about how we handle these events.

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