The best way to deal with the stalled opportunity is not allow it to stall in the first place. It’s much more difficult to restart a stalled opportunity than it is to take the actions necessary to keep it moving through the process. Here are five common reasons that your opportunity stalled and some ideas about how to prevent opportunities from screeching to a halt in the future.
- Your value proposition isn’t compelling. If your value proposition is not compelling, it is likely that it isn’t different enough or doesn’t create enough value. Often times this is true when you’re prospective client doesn’t really have enough dissatisfaction to change. In order to move your stalled opportunity forward you have to increase your prospective clients dissatisfaction and their willingness to overthrow the status quo. If this isn’t true, then you need to sharpen the value you create.
- You didn’t follow your sales process. Your sales process is your surest path from target to close. When you skip stages of your sales 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 clients discover much of anything. Trying to advance to a presentation and a proposal without going through the necessary stages is a sure recipe for a stalled opportunity. Following your sales process helps prevent stalled opportunities.
- You allowed your dream client to control the sales process. Selling is a dance. Either you lead, or your prospective client leads. The risk in letting your prospective client lead is that they don’t likely know how best to work through an effective buying process. This is why they need you; it’s how you create value. A lot of times an opportunity stalls because you allow your client to lead, and your client really doesn’t know what should come next. To prevent an opportunity from stalling here, you help your client understand what their process should look like.
- You didn’t ask for the commitments you needed. When you don’t ask your prospective client for the commitments that you need you head straight into a stall. If you need information, you have to ask for the commitment to capture that information. If you need access to other stakeholders, you have to ask for that access. If you need to present and capture feedback, you have to ask for a chance to do that. The best time to ask for those commitments is when you’re face-to-face and engaged in an interaction with your prospective client. In order to prevent an opportunity from stalling, never leave one sales interaction without asking for and gaining the next commitment you need.
- You haven’t helped to build consensus. Many opportunities stall because it is difficult for your prospective client to build consensus within their own organization. As an outsider, you may have an easier time helping to build the consensus. But by failing to address the new buying realities, you put your opportunity at risk. In order to move your stalled opportunity forward you have to lead consensus building.
Why do your opportunities stall?
What can you do to prevent them from stalling? What changes do you need to make?
If an opportunity is stalled, what do you need to do to get it back on track?