The best way to deal with a stalled opportunity is to not allow it to stall in the first place. It’s much more difficult to jumpstart a stalled opportunity than it is to keep one humming through the sales process. Here are five common reasons your opportunity stalled and how to prevent the next one from screeching to a halt:
1. Your value proposition isn’t compelling. If your value proposition isn’t compelling, it may not be different enough or create enough value. Oftentimes this is true when your prospect doesn’t really have enough dissatisfaction to change. In order to move your stalled opportunity forward, you need to increase your prospects’ dissatisfaction and their willingness to overthrow the status quo.
2. You didn’t follow your sales process. Your sales process is your surest path from target to close. When you skip stages of that 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 prospects discover much of anything. Trying to advance to a presentation and proposal without going through the necessary stages is a surefire recipe for a stalled opportunity.
3. You allowed your dream client to control the sales process. Selling is a dance. Either you lead or your prospect will lead. The risk in letting your prospects lead is that they likely don’t know how navigate the buying process. This is why they need you; it’s one of the ways you create value. A lot of times opportunities stall because you allow your prospects to lead when they don’t really know the next step. To prevent an opportunity from stalling, help your prospects understand how the process should go.
4. You didn’t ask for the commitments you needed. When you don’t ask your prospect for the commitments you need, you risk heading straight into a stall. If you need information, you must ask for a commitment that they will provide it. If you need access to other stakeholders, you must ask for that access. The best time to ask for commitments is when you’re face to face and engaged in an interaction with a prospect. In order to prevent an opportunity from stalling, never leave a sales interaction without gaining the next commitment.
5. You haven’t built consensus. Many opportunities stall because it’s difficult for your prospect to build consensus within their own organization. As an outsider, you may have an easier time building consensus. By failing to address the new buying realities, you put your opportunity at risk. In order to move your stalled opportunity forward, you must lead the consensus-building.
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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and