Why sales deals get stuck, and how to unstick them – Part 1

Why sales deals get stuckYou’ve been working on a deal for ages and the client has been sending all the right signals, but suddenly things stop progressing and you can’t reach anyone on the phone. The deal seems to be ‘stuck’, so should you move on to other opportunities, or is there a way to get things going again?

Stuck deals are a fact of life in sales, and, as a former Global VP of sales with over 30 years’ experience in the market, I’ve seen my fair share. But that doesn’t mean you have to simply accept the situation.

Warning signs that your deal is stuck or slipping

  • You’ve sent emails and left voicemails but your client contact has stopped responding
  • Your contact is refusing to allow your manager to meet or talk to their manager
  • The customer is not interested in talking to your previous clients as references
  • Agreed deadlines are being missed
  • Instead of progressing at the usual rate, the deal is stuck at one stage for an excessive length of time
  • The deal has been up for budget sign off at 3 or more internal meetings and not approved

7 reasons why deals get stuck?

  1. Your contact’s priorities have shifted, either because their job has changed, they have a new manager or they are overwhelmed with other responsibilities and they simply haven’t got time to work on the deal.
  2. The implementation of the deal was never assigned to a specific member of staff in the customer’s organisation, which means no-one is willing to take responsibility for it progressing.
  3. You didn’t take the time to get to know the customer’s buying process and you’re expecting things to progress according to your own sales process. The client may simply work at a different pace or in a different way.
  4. Your deal isn’t linked to a specific problem or deadline that executives within the company have prioritised and therefore there is no urgency around the deal.
  5. You’ve failed to give your contact a robust business case that shows a return greater than the cost and risk of change to your solution (positive ROI) or that you solve a C-level strategic & urgent issue, so they have been unable to secure the required budget.
  6. The losers have out voted the winners – a new solution always creates work or change for someone in a customer and, even with a positive ROI, if they are more vocal than the winners the deal will slow down or even get cancelled
  7. And most dangerously, a competitive supplier or an in-house alternative has appeared on the scene!

In our next blog I’ll discuss how to get things moving again.

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