sales obstacles

Remove Surprise Obstacles to Closing the Sale

The Situation

Allison learned from a friend that Glen at Semmco Electronics was looking for a supplier of shipping boxes and packaging. Allison is a sales rep for just such a company.

She meets with Glen, and she feels they have a very good meeting. Toward the end, Allison tries to close the sale:

sales obstacles

Missed Moment

Instead of closing, Allison walks away not even having a firm commitment. Obviously, her attempt to close was premature. In the arsenal of Q4 selling, what might have helped her time her efforts better — and not leave herself with a stumbling block?

Follow the Format That Involves the Prospect

You may regard this example as a rookie error — trying to close without knowing if there’s a standard practice that could get in the way. It’s not that Allison tried to close too quickly. But she should have planned her meeting around the Five-Step Structured Sales Call Format:


  1. Initiate the Conversation
  2. Explore Interests
  3. Present Your Case and Benefits
  4. Manage Objections
  5. Close or Gain Commitment


Planning a call with the Five-Step Format will ensure that the salesperson conducts a strong Step 2 — probing a prospect to determine interests and needs. Part of that would include asking about any procedures required by the prospect’s company. Had Allison carried out a thorough Step 2, she would have uncovered the questionnaire she must complete. Another typical snag that a planned Step 2 would reveal is whether the salesperson is not talking to the real decision-maker, or if a review committee must approve the sale.


Anticipate Roadblocks

And if a detailed Step 2 didn’t uncover this info, a solid Step 4 would have. Part of managing objections is asking prospects if anything they haven’t discussed so far would stand in the way of doing business. Remember, a Q4 sales approach anticipates objections even if the prospect doesn’t bring them up. Glen’s questionnaire is a kind of objection to the sale going forward.


Using the Five-Step Format and planning your call around it imposes on you a thoroughness that can keep stumbling blocks from coming out of nowhere. The sales process can go smoothly down the runway. By Step 5, you should both be ready to take off and close the sale.