Was it something I said?
How often do we find ourselves in a situation where the progress of sales opportunities we felt were likely to close come to an abrupt halt, at best they go very quiet or worse they disappear almost completely off of the radar leaving us wondering what happened, what did I do or say?
Whilst there isn’t one specific reason why deals stall there are a number of commonly encountered reasons why sales opportunities stall, below I have outlined a few reasons why your sales opportunities may have stalled and are not moving forward.
The common reasons why opportunities stall
There’s a lack of urgency from the prospect — You may be working with a prospect to solve a problem or make a decision regarding a product or service that isn’t a priority for them at the moment. The product or the solution you provide could have been put on the back burner because other issues or circumstances have taken priority and there is a lack of action from the client, every sales call should end with a commitment to take action. You cannot move the sale forward unless the buyer or decision-maker is as committed to taking action as you are.
You haven’t been working with the right decision-maker — Have you verified the contact you have been talking to is the right person to make a purchasing decision? If not, they may be avoiding communication. Learn how to identify the right decision-maker to move your deal forward by researching alternative contacts.
They are waiting for funding or other information from within their business — Some deals may stall because your contact is waiting for additional budget, approval, or a new product of their own to launch before they can commit to a sales decision.
You haven’t built enough trust with your contact yet — Building trust and rapport with your contact is crucial. If you haven’t built rapport with your prospect, they may feel less inclined to communicate where they’re at in the decision making process.
They don’t want to say "no" — Sometimes, your offering just isn’t the right fit and the prospect doesn’t want to break the news to you.
You’ve failed to connect the buying and selling process - Sometimes, sales people get ahead of the buying process. Make sure you understand where your customer is in the decision-making process and help them think through each stage. Are they still focusing on understanding the product or solution? Are they looking at other options? Or, are they comparing the best choice solutions with the status quo? It’s difficult to connect your product, service, or solution to specific business problems of your customer if you can’t gauge where they are and help them surmount obstacles.
The ROI or perceived value is unclear - This means your value proposition isn’t strong enough and it isn’t resonating with the prospect. Very few decision-makers will be willing to invest resources and budget in a product or a solution without a documentable ROI or a clear perceived value to themselves or the business. If the problem they are facing has too many “unknowns” the initiative goes to the back burner until someone can show the true value of the product or solution.
It is unclear how well, any solution will resolve the problem or meet their need - Sometimes the leadership team is faced with one or more potential solutions but no one on the team has the experience to identify which solution is best. Experienced salespeople are able to work with their clients and prospects to build a business case for their product or solution.
The company is not willing to make an immediate investment. Internal competition for budgets can derail your opportunity, sometimes what you are offering or selling just isn’t a high enough priority for the wider business, and whilst this doesn’t mean it’s a permanent no, it isn’t an immediate yes so it’s time to replace this opportunity in your pipeline with a deal that is going to close and move this opportunity further down your pipeline until it is clearer when this will be moving forward.
Your value proposition isn’t compelling - If your value proposition is not compelling, it is likely that it isn’t different enough or doesn’t create enough value. This can happen when you’re prospective client doesn’t really have enough dissatisfaction to change. In order to move your stalled opportunity forward, you have to increase your prospective client's dissatisfaction and their willingness to overthrow the status quo. If this isn’t the case, then you need to sharpen the value you create.
You didn’t follow your sales process - Your sales process is your most productive path from target to closed sales. When you skip stages of your sales process you not only reduce the likelihood of winning an opportunity, you also cause opportunities to stall. If you skip the discovery stage, neither you nor your clients discover much of anything. Trying to advance to a presentation and a proposal without going through the necessary stages is a sure recipe for a stalled opportunity. Following your sales process helps prevent stalled opportunities.
You just don’t have a strong enough understanding of the client, their true needs, or their buying process – This is going to be hard to hear but the reality is that in my experience a larger proportion of sales opportunities stall or don’t close because the salesperson hasn’t got a strong enough understanding of the situation and buying process, salespeople will by their nature always try to find an easier quicker way of doing things and as I outlined above not following the process can be a catalyst for not uncovering the vital intelligence and insight into an opportunity that will ultimately cost you the sale.
In part two we will share with you the successful strategies to re-ignite stalled accounts
Until then successful selling
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