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Why your dying deal can’t be saved

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It looks like a client of mine is about to lose a big deal. The problem? He has no idea what he is selling. And although he has made it to the finals on sheer luck and the strength of his offering, it’s not looking good.

When I say my client doesn’t know what he is selling, I mean he doesn’t know why the prospect needs to buy. He doesn’t know his prospect’s motives for change. He doesn’t know if his competition is a better fit, because he doesn’t know what the prospect is trying to do. He knows nothing about what the prospect might need or what impact buying might have. And this is why he’s going lose out.

Saving a deal requires the same things as selling one does. In order to save a deal, you need to know why the prospect might want to buy and what he expects to get from buying. You need to know what future state he is trying to achieve. You need to know why it matters and why his current situation is unacceptable. You need to know what his options are and what the competition is offering. Without knowing these things about your deal, you’re in no position to save it.

Saving a deal is difficult—a challenge you don’t want to face. However, if you find yourself in this position, nine times out of ten it’s because you didn’t sell correctly from the start.

There is nothing heroic about saving a deal (unless you were brought into clean up someone else’s mess). So avoid putting yourself in the position of having to save your deal in the first place.

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Jim Keenan is the founder of A Sales Guy Consulting and was named a Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencer by Top Sales World. For more information, go to


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