The likelihood of securing a sale with a potential buyer after the very first interaction is pretty slim. In fact, closing a deal is challenging even after three or four interactions that employ a best-in-class sales strategy. That’s because today’s prospective buyer is discerning, skeptical, and fickle—and exceedingly selective when it comes to opening up the purse strings.

As such, the sales process has become riddled with road bumps. Specifically, 61% of B2B marketers cite generating high-quality leads as the #1 challenge, according to the B2B Lead Generation Report by IDG Enterprise. Moreover, for most marketers, only 5% to 10% of qualified leads actually convert.

With it harder than ever to convert leads, many sales representatives have become disheartened and impatient, which makes for less than promising interactions with target buyers. So what are three ways your team can turn a sale around the next time it starts to go sour?

1. Take a Deep Breath

When a sales call tanks, your rep’s gut instinct might be to course correct in midsentence. But instead, your reps need to focus, take a deep breath, stop selling, and listen. Encourage reps in this situation to pause—even count to three—before saying another word. This break shows your prospective buyer that your rep respects the interactive dynamic, and gives both parties a chance to gather their thoughts as well as strategize.

A winning sales strategy involves patience, pauses, and persistence. So before your rep utters one more “I swear our product can help” statement, tell them to stop speaking, listen, and then determine a better strategy.

2. Ask to Call Back

No sales rep is immune to the positive call gone bad. It seems like the prospect really understands how your product/service can help when all of a sudden they start rapid firing questions and challenging your traditional sales pitch. Suddenly, you’re being accused of making false promises and being deceptive. When one or both parties on a sales call get testy, it’s best to postpone the call—not to keep forging ahead uncomfortably.

A robust sales strategy accounts for follow-through and takes into account that the current climate is not about quick turnaround but, rather, the long-term sale. Encourage your reps to ask whether they can call the prospect back after both sides have had time to digest what’s been said on the call. Remember, it’s better to come back to a prospect fresh and with renewed spirit than to try and force the sale when you’re both feeling agitated.

3. Be Transparent

A big reason a sales call can turn sour so quickly is that buyers today are armed with more information than ever before. Thanks to the Internet, customer reviews, social media, and third-party providers, buyers can discover a wealth of information on any potential company before they ever have their first interaction.

Therefore, when your reps are on the phone with potential prospects, they need to be fully transparent. Did your company experience some bad press? Don’t deny it. Is your product more expensive than your competitors? Explain the additional functionality it offers with that higher price point. Your sales calls will immediately take a turn for the worse if your reps gloss over pertinent information or—much worse—lie about your company heritage. An industry-leading sales strategy stresses the importance of transparency and owning your corporate tale, even if you have a few dark chapters.

Every sales call can be rectified before it’s too late; it’s up to you to train your reps on how to improve their corrective maneuvers. There’s a large market out there waiting to hear about your core competencies and unique value proposition. So wrangle your reps, adjust your training, and say goodbye to contentious sales calls.

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