5 Ways to Instantly Lose a Business Deal (How Most People Sell)

8 min read
Jul 28, 2022

It takes days or weeks to close a business deal and seconds to destroy it.

You can do everything right to close a business deal, make one mistake, and then completely lose your closing shot.

The bad news: the business world is harsh!

The good news: It is 100% within your power to prevent would-be fantastic deals from falling off the rails.

Most deals go from one hundred to zero because of a single yet fatal mistake made by the salesperson.

That said, preventing deals from instantly dying is about not making a fatal error!

To prevent fewer would-be excellent business deals from dying, I am sharing five ways you can instantly kill a business deal.

Making fatal errors and losing deals sucks.

However, it is 100% within your power to not make another fatal mistake again!


1. Telling the Prospect They Are Wrong


Telling somebody they are wrong never ends well.

Telling a two-year-old that ice cream for dinner is unhealthy does not end well.

Telling your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner that he is wrong about politics ends even worse.

In any case, nobody likes hearing they are wrong.

Unfortunately, many sales professionals tell prospects they are wrong at least once during the sales process.

Most commonly, a sales professional will tell the prospect they do not have the right plan to solve their pain point.

The moment the sales pro tells the prospect they are wrong is when the deal goes into limbo!

Even if the sales process was fantastic, hearing they are wrong is enough to make the prospect despise you.


Name One Time Telling Somebody They Are Wrong Went Well

Nobody likes hearing they are wrong because nobody wants to look like they do not understand a situation.

Not understanding a situation makes a person feel out of control.

Feeling out of control is one of the worst fears most people have!

Telling prospects they are wrong ignites a fear alarm bell in their system.

Instead of affirming that they do not know what they are talking about, they become frustrated and take it out on you.

Before you know it, they ghost you or hit you with a we do not think this is right for us message.

Most prospects would prefer to tune you out forever over hearing they are wrong about something.


Be the Guiding Light Without Saying So

Here is the kicker: Most prospects are wrong about most things.

Specifically, they are wrong about their pain points and what it will take to overcome them.

That said, a salesperson cannot let prospects be right.  At the same time, a salesperson cannot tell prospects they are wrong.

What is a sales pro to do?

The solution is to make the prospects see they are wrong without saying it out loud.

Think of it like this: Imagine a crack is in the prospect’s ceiling, and you sell ceiling fixing services.

DO NOT point at the crack and tell them it needs fixing.  That would set them off in a rage and make them feel stupid.

Instead, bring up the crack and ask what they think about it.

Then, allow the prospect to realize that the crack needs fixing.

As a result, the prospect feels like they came up with the solution themself, and you make the sale without enraging anybody!


2. Offering More Than One Option


When making your final sales pitches, how many options do you offer prospects?

For example, do you offer three different service packages at different prices?

If so, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

It sounds generous to offer different packages, but it does not help you.

Additionally, it does not help the prospect make a final purchasing decision.

In reality, offering more than one option makes you look unsure of yourself and confuses prospects.

Because of this, prospects have a difficult time making a final decision.

They go home to think about their answer instead of immediately making a purchase.

As a result, you hang in limbo while the prospect overthinks the purchase.

That said, never offer more than one option!

Drop a single offer at the final sales pitch to increase the odds of the deal closing.


Are You Unsure of Yourself?

Why would you offer more than one option to prospects?

Aren’t you supposed to be an expert who knows what prospects need to overcome their pain point?

Offering more than one option makes you look unsure of yourself and your abilities.

Suddenly, your expertise comes into question.

Salespeople who are sure of themselves never offer more than one option.

They know what prospects need and are not afraid to tell them.

Unless you want to come across as unsure, never give more than one option!


Do You Want to Confuse Prospects?

Having more than one option to choose from confuses prospects. 

Think of it like this: Imagine you are at your doctor discussing options to improve knee pain.  

The doctor proposes three different types of surgery and allows you to choose which one to go with.

Do you think you will walk out of the doctor’s office that day with a decision?

Considering you have to weigh your options, making a decision will probably take several days.

Not only that, but you are a patient who knows nothing about performing surgery!

Similarly, prospects given multiple options might take days or weeks to decide.

In worse cases, they will not make any purchasing decisions.


3. Sending a Free Initial Sales Proposal


After generating a new lead, how often will you send them a free initial sales proposal outlining your services?

How many hours do you put into the proposals?  

Two, five, or twenty?

Typically, most sales pros put hours into proposals, in addition to their heart and soul.

Unfortunately, in most cases, the hard work does not pay off.

Prospects either ghost them or hit them with a sorry, we are not interested message.

What gives?

Sending a free initial sales proposal is like asking for a deal to die instantly.

Even though it is a basic protocol for most sales teams, proposals are a set-up for a failed deal.

Thankfully, this is excellent news for you!

You do not need to waste time on another proposal again.


Prospects Do Not Know What They Need

Proposals are disastrous because they assume prospects know what they need to solve their pain point.

You send a proposal outlining services as if prospects know it is what they need to solve their problems.

However, prospects DO NOT know what they need nine out of ten times.

If prospects knew what they needed, they would come to you 100% of the time instead of you making cold calls to them.

Prospects ghost or drop you after getting the proposal because it does not fit their narrow-minded (and usually incorrect) idea of what they need.

Ultimately, your hard work goes to waste while prospects walk away without a viable solution.


Sales Proposals Turn Prospects Into Experts

The worst part is that sales proposals put expertise into the prospect’s hands.

Instead of you telling them what they need, they believe they know what is best for them.

Think of it like this: Imagine a patient walks into a surgeon’s office telling the doctor what they need to solve their back pain.  

It would be ridiculous for a patient to tell the doctor what they need instead of the other way around.

That said, sending proposals to prospects is like asking patients what kind of surgery they want.

Unless you want prospects to see you as a vendor instead of an expert, do not send free initial proposals!


4. Waiting More Than 24 Hours to Follow-Up


Time is the #1 killer of business deals.

The more time it takes to move through the sales process, the less likely the deal closes.

Even though time kills a majority of deals, most salespeople lollygag throughout the sales process.

Instead of urgently moving through the process, they take their good ole’ time.

As a result, prospects drop like flies, and salespeople wonder what is going wrong.

The most common place salespeople waste time is following up between cold calls and meetings.

For example, a salesperson will make an initial call at noon on Monday and wait two to three days to follow up.

Or, a salesperson will have an initial sales meeting and wait a week to host the next meeting.

Unfortunately, the more time there is between sales meetings, the more time prospects have to overthink.

Overthinking causes deals to drop like flies!


Prospects Default to Overthinking Mode

Imagine you walk into a store and see a shirt you really like.  

After picking it up, you try it on but decide to put it down for a minute.

During that minute, you start questioning your decision to buy it.

Does this shirt look as good as I think?

Is the shirt too expensive?

Should I look elsewhere, even though I really like this one?

Despite needing a new shirt and liking this one, overthinking tells you to question your decision.

That said, prospects overthink the same way when given the time to do it.

Therefore, salespeople must reduce the time it takes to move through the sales process!

The best place to start is speeding-up follow-up.


You Become an Afterthought

Prospects do more than overthink when given extra time.

In addition to overthinking, they make you an afterthought.

While you are lollygagging through the sales process, more junk piles up on the prospect’s desk.  

With more junk on their desk, you are less likely to be at the forefront of their mind.

AKA, you are officially an afterthought instead of a priority.

Do you think prospects give time to things that are not priorities?  

Of course not.

Eventually, you realize you are an afterthought and panic.  

Unfortunately it is too late to get the prospect’s attention again.

If you want to be a priority, you must make yourself one!


5. Mentioning Your Competition


Who the heck thinks it is a good idea to mention your competition during the sales process?

Even though mentioning the competition is standard practice for most sales teams, it is a ridiculous and pointless tactic.

Why would you mention the competition unless you want prospects comparing them against you?

Does an expert doctor compare themself to other doctors?

Does the world’s best soccer player compare themself to the competition?

While an expert doctor or pro soccer player might study their competitors, they NEVER compare themselves in front of people they want to impress. 


Because, it puts the attention on somebody else instead of them!

It is challenging to get attention back once it goes on somebody else.

That said, never allow your competitors to bask in the spotlight.


You Have Given Prospects a Reason to Window Shop You

Most salespeople who use the mention-the-competition-tactic use it because they think it humanizes them.

Instead of ignoring the competition, they bring them up to make themselves seem more human and less tone deff.

Sounds legit, right?


While it sounds very politically correct to want to humanize yourself, mentioning competition as a means of doing that is terrible.

Instead of humanizing yourself, you allow prospects to window shop.

Window shopping is when prospective buyers act curious about wanting to work with you but never actually intend to buy.

They do not immediately buy because they are checking out other potential options.

You are not a window shop-worthy vendor; you are an expert.

Therefore, do not set yourself up to be window shopped by bringing up competitors!


You Are Supposed to Be In a League of Your Own

Remember, you are an expert in your field.

Nobody can replace you because you bring something unique to the table that nobody else does.

However, mentioning competitors makes it look like you are in direct competition with them.

Instead of being in a league of your own, you are easily replaceable with somebody else.

If you are replaceable, why wouldn’t prospective customers check out other options?

Vendors are replaceable, but experts are irreplaceable.

Never frame yourself as a vendor by mentioning competition!


Final Thoughts on 5 Ways to Instantly Lose a Business Deal


It takes weeks to build up to a closed business deal and seconds to destroy it!

Many would-be excellent business deals fail because of single fatal errors salespeople make.

Fortunately, these errors are preventable!

Therefore, it is 100% within your power to prevent would-be fantastic deals with dream clients from dying.

Win more deals. Grow your business.

Get more prospects, more sales, and higher-paying clients fast, so you can take your business to the next level.

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