Deal stuck? Here’s why.
It’s Still a Lead
You don’t close a lead. You only close opportunities. The reason that you can’t (and won’t) close some of the deal in your pipeline is because they are still only leads. In order to convert a lead to an opportunity, your prospective client has to agree to explore changing. They have to agree there is a reason to change and that they need to change now (or very soon, anyway).
If you want to close, do the work necessary to convert a lead into a real opportunity. A sales meeting doesn’t necessarily equal an opportunity.
You Haven’t Gained the Necessary Commitments
Selling is really only two things: conversations and commitments. The reason a lot of opportunities don’t close after they are created is because the salesperson is good at the conversation part, but hasn’t acquired all of the necessary commitments.
You need a commitment for time, the commitment to explore, the commitment to change, the commitment to collaborate, the commitment to build consensus, the commitment to invest, a commitment to review your plan, a commitment to resolve concerns, the commitment to decide, and the commitment to execute.
If you want to close, gain all of the necessary smaller commitments between target and close.
You Haven’t Made a Compelling Enough Case
Your opportunity isn’t going to close unless and until you make a compelling case for change. Change is difficult, messy, and time-consuming. Your dream clients trust their existing problems more than they trust you or the change that you present.
You need to help your prospective client understand the high price they will pay if they don’t change. The status quo is comfortable. You have to make uncomfortable and unsustainable. What does your prospective client risk by not changing? Do they lose their competitive position? Do they lose market share? Will they lose clients if they don’t change? How much will it cost them in new opportunities?
If you want to close, build the case for change.
You Haven’t Got Consensus
Look at the opportunities in your pipeline right now. How many contacts do you have attached to each opportunity? If you have only one contact, you aren’t positioned to win an opportunity. If you have only two contacts, you are doing a little better, but I am skeptical that you can win the opportunity.
I used to say, “More and more, decisions are made by consensus.” I no longer say “more and more.” Decisions are made by consensus. Period. If you are going to close an opportunity, you are going to have to help build that consensus. Do you know all of the people on the real buying committee? Do you know the people who get to weigh in, even if they aren’t formally represented in the process?
Getting to yes means getting a consensus to change and a consensus to choose you.
You Haven’t Resolved Your Client’s Concerns
Too many opportunities end in a “no decision” because the prospective client has unresolved concerns.
Your prospective client is worried they’re spending too much money. They’re worried about their credibility should you fail. They’re worried about their team’s ability to execute and how committed they will be. They’re worried about disrupting their organization. At the end of their buying journey, they have to deal with these fears. Either you are there to help them by resolving their concerns or you increase the likelihood of a “no decision.”
Your opportunity is risk until you do the work to resolve your dream client’s concerns.