Your Contact Leaves: Is there anything worse that developing an opportunity, getting it right up to the line, and then having your primary sponsor leave? Yes, there is. Your contact could be replaced by someone with different priorities or who is adamantly opposed to your initiative. The downside of a new contact is that often abandon initiatives that haven’t yet been started. The upside is that they are often change agents, and if you get to the them early enough you can present your initiative as that change. But if you only have one sponsor and you haven’t asked that sponsor to help you gain executive sponsorship, you have made a mistake.
The Budget Disappears: Your contact has the money to make the change you have been working on, and then, without warning, your prospective client company makes dramatic cuts. The budget for your solution dissolves. Unless you have positioned your solution as something that is going to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve profits, you’re in real trouble. The way to find the money for your solution is to ensure it pays for itself . . . and adds something to the kitty.
New Leadership Takes Over: New leaders make changes. When new leaders enter the picture, they’re they to make change, to make an improvements. They kill a lot of unborn initiatives to make room for their own priorities. The earlier you reach new leaders, schedule time, and align your initiative with their new initiatives, the better your chances of keeping your solution from finding its way into the dustbin.
Pushed to Next Quarter (Year): This is tough one to come back from. It’s not a “no.” But more time only puts your opportunity at greater risk. More time means more time without the results that your solution produces. That’s time without the additional revenue, reduced costs, increased revenue. It’s time without having their problem solved. Sometimes the best way to keep a deal from pushing is to show the cost of not changing now.