Crucial elements to closing a complex sale

Just because a sale is complex, meaning it involves a high degree of uncertainty as well as a larger number of people in the process, doesn’t mean this potentially large case is beyond your reach. While you need to take more into consideration because more people are involved, you can achieve the goals you want while serving a client’s needs.

Complex sales often involve multiple decision points, so one of your goals is to keep the conversation moving forward toward the next decision. Recognize there are competing goals at play too. Your goal is to make the sale; their goal is to make the right decision based on their wants, needs and budget. In addition, your prospect also might be considering competitive offerings, so keep the conversations ongoing with you and what you offer.

Psychographics drive buying behavior

When you are looking at a complex sale, the most critical component to understand is the psychological make-up, or psychographics, of your prospect as well as the other people the prospect has involved in the process. What drives them and their buying behavior?

Other people influencing the prospect may include family members, attorneys or business partners. These other influencers can either be your best sales allies, or they can be a roadblock to prevent you from achieving the sale and adding them to your long-term client list. You often can go around roadblocks, though, when you understand the decision triggers of all involved.

Decision triggers move sales decisions

To start, it’s important to gain a foundational understanding of the characteristics of your prospects and influencers. Next, determine what will trigger your prospect to make the final decision to become your client. Will it be a budget issue or the approval of another family member? Are future circumstances causing concern or hesitation? Whatever decision triggers might influence your prospect, address them in your presentation.

The most effective way to gain this insight into who else is influencing your prospect’s decision and what’s driving their behavior is to ask probing questions that go beyond the basics on the surface. Think carefully about the questions you ask your prospects. You need to ask questions that provide you with a thorough understanding of the psychological drivers of your prospect. You also need to understand the psychological drivers and decision barriers of the others who influence them who may be involved in the sales process, even if only behind the scenes.

Your role as a financial advisor is to remain present and focused as you guide them through the process and give them comfort in moving their next decision toward buying from you. Make sure you provide them with the right information they need as they move through their cycle. 

Combine decision-making triggers with your understanding of your prospect’s psychographics to create a message that will give you the strongest platform for successfully completing the sale. The more insight you have, the better your message. The better your message, the greater chance you have of completing the sale.

A strong grasp of the psychological drivers of your target market is the best way to develop your sales strategy. This insight will reduce the amount of time it takes to go from a cold lead to a closed deal.

Jill Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, is a management consultant who helps clients make critical business decisions and develop plans for turnarounds or growth. For more information, visit

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