They know that you are the right solution for them, they like you, trust you, and want to do business with you.
But when it’s time to seal the deal, things just get “stuck” – your client just stops engaging with you. They gradually stop replying to your emails and don’t answer your calls.
You start to question and doubt yourself. You think: What happened? How did I lose this one? Did I misjudge their interests? Was I too expensive? Did I say or do something wrong?… It’s a never-ending self-doubt journey.
In sales, these ‘stuck’ opportunities are what we call ‘Dormant Opportunities.
And they’re far more common than you might think. These are deals that you have not lost yet haven’t won either – they’re deals in limbo.
So what do you do to avoid a sales opportunity from becoming dormant?
How do you get ‘un-stuck’, and how do you accelerate the buying decision so you can close sales effectively?
Here are three key steps you can take to proactively keep the sales process moving smoothly right from the start.
With these steps in place, it’s unlikely that your conversations will come to a stop. But if they do, these steps will help you to get the process moving again too:
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Try to look at things from their perspective. Think: What could be holding this person or organization back from taking the final decision?
Make a careful list of all of these possible obstacles that might be preventing your client from closing business with you.
Once you’ve found the problem, or problems, ask yourself “How do I help them overcome these obstacles? Can I dissolve some of these concerns?”
Grab a piece of paper and write down every idea you can think of.
These tools can be industry-based information, client testimonials, reports, case studies – anything that supports you to solve these possible problems, and helps the client to believe that they’re making the right decision by going with you.
One common obstacle might be, “We don’t see enough reason to change yet”. Most of the time, customers might not feel the financial investment is justified.
The solution here is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
Ask yourself: Why do they feel like the cost isn’t justified? What do you know about the benefits of your products or services that they don’t? How can you help them see that there is a significant advantage for them in the product or service you are offering?
Here is where those ‘Sales Tools’ are helpful. Share articles, reports, white papers and even expert opinion on relevant industry trends as to how your product or service is helping businesses increase their bottom line.
Feel free to share before and after scenarios, too, or relevant examples of companies just like theirs.
Try to assess missed cost opportunities. Get your clients to think about this: How much is it costing them in lost business or new opportunities to not use your product or service?
These are just some of the tools you can use to overcome a very common obstacle in sales.
Another obstacle might be: “Can’t get internal buy-in from the final decision makers”
You may have customers who are sold on your offering themselves but are struggling to get a buy-in from the other stakeholders. Getting them all in the same boat can be challenging.
Guide your customer to lead this change initiative. Evaluate the decision steps, understand how you can help their internal process along.
Organize peer to peer meetings between your company and the customer’s company. Have videos, and share previous customer experiences. Share proven success stories and honest testimonials of customers.
Try to sample your products and services so the customer can get a taste of your solutions. It is only natural that you will find yourself facing dormant opportunities at some point.
It helps to learn from your challenges, anticipate customer roadblocks and invest time and resources into creating the tools you need to help customers along their sales journey.
Over the years, this thought process has proven to be invaluable to some of my clients. One, for example, was able to greatly speed up their sales cycle by simply creating and sharing an industry analyst’s report on a regular basis.
Remember not to get disheartened when opportunities slow down – there’s always a reason. You just have to find the reason and figure out a way to overcome it, if you know this is a deal that you really want to close.
It’s a whole other question when the deal is not as lucrative as you would like… in that case, it might be counter-intuitive to chase it or try to accelerate buy-in. Check out our blog on ‘How to Prevent Yourself from Getting Stuck in A Bad Sales Deal’ for more on that!