Statistics indicate that most ‘stalls’ and ‘stops’ in the sales process are associated with a lack of rigor during the qualify stage. Many sellers also fail to provide value during the develop stage.
It’s easy to fall into the following trap:
- Your prospect expresses interest in your products or services. You are thrilled.
- Your prospect asks for a proposal. You jump at the opportunity to move so quickly.
- Your prospect doesn’t return your calls or emails, loses interest, and essentially is stalled (or worse yet, DOA).
What Causes ‘The Stall’ from your Prospect’s Perspective?
- Your prospect doesn’t see enough value to continue. (I.e., impact or ROI not well established)
- Your prospect assesses the project as a B or C priority. In many situations, ‘do nothing’ is your biggest competitor. (I.e., possibly the timing is not right for them or you weren’t able to align the project with their top priorities)
- Your Prospect is resistant to committing or unclear on next steps. (I.e., confused or overwhelmed or sees risk with moving forward)
- Prospect feels that you’re asking for too much. (I.e., too much work or work that’s too complex)
- Your prospect has found a better way to solve their problem.
Best Ways to Avoid ‘The Stall’
- Don’t shortchange the qualify stage. Be clear on all the topics to cover during this stage. If it’s not a fit, move on.
- Ask about the customer’s sense of urgency and match. (I.e., why and why now?)
- Focus on them during the develop stage instead of diving in about your products and services. Help them make an internal business case which includes outlining their priorities and the outcomes they’re seeking.
- Bring up budget/financial aspect at the correct stage of the sales process. (I.e., straw case or working/draft proposals with budget ranges work well – get prospect ‘buy in’ to avoid sticker shock later during the proposal stage)
- Integrate your sales process with their buying process. Be clear on what they’re doing, thinking, and feeling during each stage of their buying process and match your efforts accordingly.
- Keep the following in mind throughout the sales process. Now more than ever, salespeople must approach the sales process with the following three things in mind:
- Make it Simple for your prospect
- Show Immediate Impact for your prospect
- Eliminate Risk for your prospect
- Do rigorous pre-call planning for each prospect meeting. Make agendas for all sales calls. (I.e., don’t leave the meeting to chance)
- Gain commitment for next steps early in the meeting to avoid a stall.
- Make sure next steps are clear and simple and appropriate.
- Build value throughout each meeting. Test for understanding and gain agreement frequently on the impact and outcomes that your prospect is seeking.
- Ask open ended questions. Look for clues that you’re aligned with your prospect.
- Be on the lookout for yellow flags or unresolved concerns. Don’t ignore.
Ring the Bell!!!
Your reward will be to continually advance instead of stall to ultimately ‘Ring the bell’ more frequently with massive (at least 5x your average deal size), TOP Line Account™ wins.
Lisa D. Magnuson, Mastermind Sales Strategist of 7-Figure Deals
Lisa Magnuson has walked in the shoes of sales leaders. She was an award-winning sales manager and led the charge as a Sales VP for several Fortune 50 companies. Totaling over 35 years of experience, Lisa has worked with large, medium and small corporate clients across a broad spectrum of industries.
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