The 5 Outcomes of a Sales Conversation

Believe it or not, there are only five possible outcomes to any sales conversation. When one person (the salesperson) attempts to influence another person (the prospect) to make a purchase of any type, knowing there are only five outcomes that can happen should help you increase your sales.

Here are the five outcomes:

  • The prospect buys – We won’t be discussing this one in this article.
  • The prospect does nothing to solve his/her problem.
  • The prospect delays taking action.
  • The prospect makes a purchase from a competitor.
  • The prospect buys a different solution.

    Most salespeople think that the last two are what most often happens when a sale is not made, and that is flat out wrong. You sure couldn’t tell from most any salesperson you talk to, because they will guarantee you that the sale they just lost went to their competition. Usually at a lesser price than they did, or could offer the prospect. Or perhaps the prospect purchased an item they couldn’t or didn’t offer. They are so confident in the fact that they don’t bother to follow up with the prospect and see what really happened. After all, they know it to be so.

It’s at this point that the quote by the late, great, and legendary basketball coach and Hoosier, John Wooden, comes into play, Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” To me, that means when you think you’ve lost the sale, you need to find out what really happened or find out why the sale was lost in the first place. Either way, you’ll learn much from the conversation.

Here’s what really happens. It’s human nature that people refrain from making a decision as long as they can. According to Dan Kennedy, bestselling author, copywriting king, and marketing guru, “there are more nonbuyers than buyers.” You see, Dan knows human nature, which is why he knows that immediate and persistent follow-up will close more sales than any other thing a salesperson can do. Famously, Dan also knows that most salespeople, maybe even you at this point, say something like, “but my clients are different.” Well, I have news for you… they’re not! Remember, it’s human nature to delay.

It’s unfortunate but also true that prospects lie. Really, they do. But why do we lie? Simple answer — it’s one of our systems for not buying. How many times have you, when looking for something specific, gone to the local mall or shopping center only to walk into the store of your choice and have some young, eager salesperson say “Can I help you?” to which you respond, “No, I’m just looking.” Then when you can’t find the item you came for, you notice you can’t locate that young, eager salesperson, or worse yet, they are talking to the other young, eager salespeople. It’s at that point you become frustrated and leave the store.

If you don’t have a system for selling, you fall prey to the prospect’s system for not buying. The question becomes — who has the better system?