Avoid becoming a prisoner of buyer hope

Desperation is a stinky perfume.

Buyers can spot when a salesperson is too keen to win business. Whether it’s being too pushy at an initial meeting, or the desire to try and close before a relationship has really developed.  The signs of a bad commission breath are easy to spot.

It’s so easy for buyers to spot that it should be easy for sellers to realise themselves, but so many sales and business people would prefer to blame the buyer for misleading them or changing their mind rather than look in the mirror and realise their own shortcomings.

Some don’t realise they are doing it and just aren’t tuned into what the modern sales process is all about.

Some do realise they are doing it but continue to do it anyway. They just don’t care for how others perceive them and adopt a ‘who cares’ approach.

Many do it however out of desperation. The situation in their business or role has become so bad that they see themselves with no other option.

It’s a shit-or-bust situation. Sadly, in many cases, it’s the bust option that wins.

Why does it happen?

What causes so many people to get to this critical point where they make themselves look so needy?

In nearly all cases it boils down to 3 key reasons.

  • They don’t have a Sales Strategy or Sales Plan and have no idea on how to go about selling successfully. My 2 videos above are both a good watch. They have 60,000 views between them so it’s not just me being biased 🙂
  • They haven’t spent enough time prospecting to try and find new business. Prospecting is simple. You either drive new INBOUND leads or you go and do OUTBOUND work to find new business. More to follow on this next week
  • They put too much hope into the existing leads in their funnel. They become prisoners of buyer hope.


A prisoner of buyer hope is simply someone who is being held captive by the future decision of a buyer. They have put all of their ‘lead eggs’ into a few baskets and it means if those deals don’t come off, they don’t bring the revenue in that they need to survive or achieve their target.

This tends to happen a lot when the size of the deal is larger, because one or two confirmed projects means the target is hit. But if those deals don’t come through as planned, or start to look rocky, we get the desperation and stink of neediness.

The seller is a prisoner of hope to the buyer and unless they can bluff their way through, then the buyer is in total control.

They can start to dictate terms of business and when projects should start or stop. They become the boss and have control and this is a dangerous position for any seller to be in.

Sales is all about being in control. We want to be able to control what we need to achieve the results that we desire and when our destiny is put in the hands of other people, we are taking a huge risk.

How can you overcome this?

Build a fat funnel of leads.

Build enough people wanting your service that you have a choice of who you work with. Ensure that if Large Lead A says they need time to think about it then it’s no drama as you have Lead B, C, D, E, F, G and H ready to take their place.

This strategy has a double bonus effect. Not only does it stop you from becoming a prisoner of hope but when you aren’t desperate, you give off a calm ‘not a problem’ vibe which can make the buyer want you more.

We all want things that we can’t have and buyers are no different. They ask themselves questions such as ‘What makes them so special’ and ‘Why are they so blase about winning my business’ and this in turn brings them closer to you.

I have been in both camps. I have been in the camp where I have more business than I can satisfy and it feels rewarding. I choose who I want to work with and as with any scenario where demand exceeds supply, the price goes up.

I have also been in the camp where I am praying and hoping for a deal to come in to achieve a goal. I have sat and waited for a buyer to call me to confirm a deal and the agony and frustration you feel from being putty in someone else’s hands is not a feeling I enjoyed or recommend.

So if you are reading this email now and are reflecting on your most recent sales results then ask yourself this simple question.

Are you too reliant on a few deals to come through which in turn is making you appear desperate and needy within sales conversations?

If the answer is yes then vow today to change it. Develop a sales plan and start focusing on developing new leads (inbound and outbound) that can create a fat funnel for your business.

Not sure how to do that? You only have 7 days to wait for that.

Don’t feel like it’s a big issue? Happy trying to chase deals all the time and look like a pushy and desperate person? Your call. Just beware of that stinky perfume you’re giving off!

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