Six Ways To Move Stalled Deals Forward
It's tough when a deal stalls, especially when you're near the close. If you tend to put yourself first in these situations, you're not alone. It's alluring to repeat the close, threaten the prospect with an incredible discount that's about the expire, or roll several asks into one conversation. However, these strong-arm tactics are a sure way to turn stalled deals into cold ones.
Jeff Hoffman, a sales executive and entrepreneur who consults on sales, sales management and sales operations, says it's important for the prospect to remain the focus. Unless you want to become the stereotypical pushy salesperson, you should follow Hoffman's six strategies to move stalled deals forward. We explore these strategies in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. Don't repeat your close. Rather than following up with the same close, approach your prospect with a different, lighter ask. Your follow-up question might be something such as, "When would you like to start implementation?" This is an easier ask that doesn't require action. However, if you continued to push by repeating your close, it may have led to a "no." Hoffman says that your goal with every email and conversation is not to obtain a yes or no, but rather engagement. If a deal is stalling, get your prospect talking.
2. Don't corner your prospects. You don't like to feel trapped and neither do your prospects. That's why it's important to give a prospect plenty of exit opportunities. For example, if the prospect can't confirm a date, let him or her know that you're available by phone or email if the date needs to change once it's scheduled. Hoffman says this makes it sound like listening to your pitch is an option.
3. Always be direct with your close. Hoffman advises that salespeople should always use one close at a time and avoid using "not" and "and" in their closing language. It's easy to use a compound close by asking multiple questions at once. However, if you ask a compound question, you'll receive a compound answer. Instead, let the prospect respond to one question at a time before following up with another question.
4. Close something light first. To get prospects comfortable saying yes, Hoffman recommends starting every deal by closing for a meeting, phone number or intro. Once you've made a small "sale," you can move on to bigger asks.
5. Make sure every close includes a finish line. Instead of asking, "What's a good time for us to meet?" you should ask, "When are you free to meet for 30 minutes this week?" This way, you keep the question prospect-centered by defining how long your meeting will take and when it should happen. This makes your prospect feel valued and in control.
6. Send a new quote. If the end of the quarter or year is here and your prospect hasn't closed, send a new contract with non-discounted pricing. This may be the wakeup call they need.
All salespeople face stalled deals from time to time. They threaten your sales numbers and drain your time and resources. Put these six strategies to work to turn stalled deals around and reach the finish line.
Source: Jeff Hoffman is a renowned sales executive and entrepreneur who consults with industry leaders on the topics of sales, sales management and sales operations. The author of Your SalesMBA™, Why You? Why You Now?™, and The Seven Basho Strategies™ sales training programs, Hoffman presents to sold-out audiences around the globe.