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Volume 6 Number 11   |   November 2016

Pulling the Trigger

You've all endured the torture of a buyer who seems willing but just can't sign on the dotted line, can't shake hands on the deal, won't commit to the project. You're agonizingly close to the finish line, but another hurdle keeps popping up.

I call this phenomenon a failure to "pull the trigger." We are seemingly ready, aim carefully, but can't fire.

If you're wondering about how to force your buyer to take action—to pull the trigger—ask yourself why you've been unwilling to do so yourself. Don't lie, it's happened to you. If you can find the reasons that you've employed to justify the procrastination, then you'll know the causes of your buyer's vacillation, as well.

Not Rocket Science

The reasons that people don't "pull the trigger" are:

  • Lack of resilience. What if this is a bad decision after all? I'll be unable to recover.
  • Unseen influence. A partner, spouse, advisor is whispering in their ear that it's a bad idea, usually because the other party has a different vested reason.
  • We fear we're not up to it. Once this is public, I'm committed. It's like announcing I'm going to lose ten pounds. It's one thing to keep that to myself, but once announced, everyone will be looking at what I'm eating every day.
  • It will a noise. People will see we're committed to a course of action and responsible for it. I'm drawing attention to myself and my feelings that something has to be change or improved.

Find out what the reasons are for your client's unwillingness to act, to take the final step. Give them assurances that you can fine-tune and make mid-course corrections. Demonstrate that others feel these changes are needed and will welcome them. Show the ongoing support you'll personally provide.

Best Practices

It's always helpful to put yourself in the other person's shoes, but it's also important to be comfortable in your own. Examine why you've engaged in dysfunctional behaviors and how you've overcome them. Think about how you can transfer that to your client.

A shooting instructor will tell you to steady yourself, carefully aim, take a deep breath, and just squeeze the trigger, don't pull it. That's the secret to closing a business deal as well.

© Alan Weiss 2016


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