Chapter 82. Jump-Starting a Stalled Sales Opportunity

Julie Thomas

ValueSelling Associates

It seems that you have done everything right: Your prospect has clearly explained his business and relevant personal issues; you've connected to those issues with a solution only you can provide; you are working directly with the person who has the authority and ability to make the decision; and you've agreed, in writing, to what you and the prospect will do together to initiate a business relationship. The only thing that you haven't been able to do is get them to sign on the dotted line.

If you are like most salespeople, between 30 and 50 percent of the sales in your pipeline will result in no decision. In a tough market, one of the biggest productivity returns you can reap is to reduce the impact of stalled decisions by identifying them early in the sales cycle; however, in order to jump-start a stalled sale, you must first diagnose the reasons behind it. The problem isn't that the sale stalls out in process, the problem is that often we don't recognize it soon enough and expend the necessary time and resources on these deadend opportunities.

One of the most common complaints or challenges we hear from our clients has to do with stalled opportunities. The scenario typically goes something like this: A sales cycle is progressing with an individual—all the buying signals are being observed—and then . . . nothing happens! No return phone calls, no return e-mails, and no communication at all!

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