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Dealing with Stuck Deals

“What can I do to push the sale through the final stage? I feel like some of my deals are in limbo.”

First, let’s start with letting you know that having some deals you are working on seem to be in “limbo” is expected.

If you’re a successful sales professional, you will have a mixture of deals in the pipeline that will close sooner than forecasted, on time, arrived later than we had hoped, and ones we thought for sure would come in but never do. This is part of sales.

Your job is to ask the right questions at the right time to help the right prospects solve their problem with your solution.

It is true that all around the world, there are salespeople with deals in their pipeline that should never have been added to the opportunities stage due to poor salesmanship.

But for today’s article, we are going to talk about those deals in the balance that were handled correctly. The ones where you asked the right questions (problem recognition, decision-making authority/process, timeframe, ideal solutions, pricing expectations, etc.) and yet, the deal has not landed.

You haven’t heard “NO” from your prospect, but you haven’t heard “YES,” either.

Most salespeople have sales managers, who are getting pressure from sales directors, asking you always, “where are with _____ deal?” to which you don’t give an answer that makes him/her satisfied.

Again, we are talking about those deals where all bases were covered – we are not talking about when the salesperson skipped steps (knowingly or due to insufficient or lack of sales skills) in the sales process. We all have or have had or will have and will have again deals like this in our sales career.

So how do we handle “those” scenarios? What’s the best approach?

Here’s what I know to be true:

  • The deal will come in soon,
  • The deal will come in later;
  • The deal will never come in.

This is a “Captain-Obvious” statement. However, too many talented salespeople have obsessed over one deal in limbo, which caused them to take their eye off the ball on other deals in the works and fill the pipeline with new opportunities.

If you’ve been in sales long enough, you’ve probably experienced putting too much pressure on a prospect to get the order across the finish line and lost the deal because of it. I know I have.

Taking a step back and realizing that look… you’ve done everything right. Maybe you weren’t “perfect,” but all the “qualifying” boxes were checked, you’re listening ears were turned-up to 100, your presentation was on point, and now it’s just in the hands of the prospect.

Again, we are discussing those scenarios where the salesperson has asked all the right questions at the right time, listened, and correctly interpreted the responses. It was “all systems, go.”

We are not talking about when the salesperson failed to identify a problem correctly, truly uncover the prospect’s decision-making role, timeframe for solving the problem, etc.

So, what do you do in those scenarios where everything was handled accordingly?

Two things to start with. Here they are.

#1: Let. It. Breath.

Top salespeople will learn the balancing act of taking the heat from their manager and avoid transferring that pressure over to the prospect. And sometimes, you need to let the deal marinate on its own. Believe it or not, knowing when to push and when to pull back is NEXT-LEVEL sales skills. Trust your gut. And if you are not sure what to do, ask for help! Let your sales manager know you aren’t sure how to proceed, and let them help/guide you and learn from the experience. This is what they are there for.

#2: Work other deals.

Be mindful of the other deals that need attention. You only have so much time in a day, and if you are sitting around pondering or stressing about that “one deal,” you could very well lose other deals as well. Having the mental fortitude and focus on setting aside in your mind a contract currently in limbo, to work other opportunities is ALL-STAR talent and skill. 

Each deal in this scenario will be a little different.

There is no “one-size” fits all solution to bring the deal in; however, the two steps mentioned above have helped me personally over the past 25+ years of selling as a straight-commissioned inside sales rep.

If or when you are in this type of scenario with a deal, these two steps will hopefully help guide you through.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey on-demand skills-building program for inside sales teams.

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