If a Deal is Dead, Bury It.

Deals tend to have an expiration date. Some are durable over long periods, and others are somewhat fragile, with the slightest neglect or stall, causing them to disintegrate before your very eyes. While healthy deals tend to come with activity and energy, deals can also be weak and sickly, lacking energy and acting and failing to thrive.

Eventually, some deals die. They may die of old age, like the deal I noticed in one pipeline that had lived to the ripe old age of 1,732 days (almost five years old), a deal that was still in a forecast. Some deals are lost to fierce, hungry competitors who in some way outsell you, which is always painful, and a terrible way for a deal to die (which is why should do everything in your power to prevent deals from suffering this fate—and you along with them).

Deals also die of neglect, failing to get the care and nurturing necessary for it to live, thrive, and survive. Still other dies to a no-decision, or a black swan, which may include: losing your champion, lacking an executive sponsor, the company being acquired, a change in priorities, loss of budget, a lack of consensus on pursuing the initiative, competing priorities, or dozens of other reasons deals dissolve and disappear.

When a deal is dead, dig a hole and bury it. If the deal timed out, let it go. If it is old enough to start grade school, it isn’t really a deal. If you have gone through the process and ended up with a no-decision or not now, remove the deals from your CRM, move the prospect back to target, and take another run at them.

You don’t have to give up on your dream client, but you may have to take a couple runs at winning their business.

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