Ignoring Obstacles to a Deal Doesn’t Make Them Go Away

Sometimes you run across an issue that, if not resolved, will likely kill your opportunity. It’s easy to want to avoid issues that aren’t easily resolved. But ignoring the issues doesn’t mean that they will go away on their own, or that your prospective client is going to give you a deal without addressing the issue.

Even If They Say Nothing

Professional salespeople face the difficult obstacles that they encounter when pursuing their prospective clients. Sometimes the client needs something that your company doesn’t provide in quite the way that they describe it. Or, they need something that, for some reason, you cannot provide them. Occasionally your competitor can give your prospective client something that you can’t.

Even if your prospective client doesn’t bring these issues up directly, and even if they don’t make a big deal out of the gaps between what they are describing they need and what you can provide, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t concerned. Just because they don’t confront you directly doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to consider their concerns when they are evaluating options and making a decision.

It is your responsibility to address their concerns. Ignoring them doesn’t mean that they’ll go away.

Addressing Concerns

One of the ways professionals distinguish themselves is by facing the difficult or challenging issues. They are fearless when confronting the issues, and they never seek to avoid the real issues. This is what allows their clients to trust them, and this is why they are chosen to own and manage an outcome—they don’t hide from problems.

When it’s clear that your prospective client describes something that they need in a way that you can’t provide it, you say: “I think I understand your need as being this, but we don’t deliver the result you need in exactly the way you described it. If we delivered that result—or a better result—without delivering in the way you described, would that still work for you?” If the answer is no, you have the option of discussing other ways you might be able to deliver the result.

There are occasions when your prospective client needs something that you can’t provide them at all. Maybe the opportunity wasn’t an opportunity and should have instead been disqualified. But sometimes they need something that isn’t part of your offering and could be provided by someone else. As a professional, you are required to address this, saying something like, “We don’t provide that service at all. Is that going to be a problem? Could we have one of our partners handle that piece of this solution?”

There is no reason to be concerned about losing the opportunity. If your prospective client needs something that you can’t provide or that they won’t allow you to provide through a partner, you weren’t going to win the opportunity anyway.

Being a professional salesperson requires that you get the big, ugly obstacles out in the open and address them.

The Mistake That’s Made

Sometimes salespeople believe that if the client doesn’t ask them to address an issue that the issue isn’t that important to them. Later they are surprised when the issue is brought up at the 11th hour, and when there is little time to address it. They’re even more surprised when they are notified that they lost the opportunity because of the unresolved concern. They shouldn’t be surprised.

Unresolved concerns kill a lot of opportunities. Instead of hoping that something isn’t important to your dream client, you ask. You resolve the concerns early. You work with your dream client and exercise your resourcefulness to find a way to provide the result that they need in a way that is acceptable to them. You sell them on another way to get the same outcome—even when it is difficult.

Ignoring obstacles doesn’t mean that they cease to exist. They don’t go away—your opportunity does.


Why is it difficult to address obstacles to a deal?

What does it mean that your prospective dream client doesn’t make a big deal out of something that they need that you can’t deliver or can’t deliver in the way that they need it delivered?

What does your commitment to being a professional and your desire to be a trusted advisor require of you when you encounter obstacles that could kill your deal?

Is it ever right to win a deal knowing that you can’t deliver the outcome your client needs?

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Filed under: Sales

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