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Tips to Avoid the ‘Stall’

9-28-18_Tips to Avoid the Stall_Lisa D Magnuson

If you sell, you’ve suffered from the ‘Stall’.  Your prospect isn’t returning calls or emails and your project seems as if it’s been put on the permanent ‘Back burner’ or worse.  Is there anything that sellers can do to avoid the stall?  Yes!

What Causes the Stall?

To avoid the stall, you need to understand what causes the stall.  Some of the reasons are on the prospect’s side but most are on the seller’s side.

Reasons that Prospects Stall:

  • Your project is a low priority for the prospect.

Reasons that Sellers Cause a Stall:

  • Your prospect doesn’t see enough value to continue. (I.e. impact or ROI)
  • Seller leaves the meeting open ended. (I.e. doesn’t nail down day/time of next meeting)
  • Seller leaves next steps discussion to end of meeting. (I.e. too much can go wrong at the end)
  • Prospect not clear on next steps. (I.e. confused)
  • Prospect feels that you’re asking for too much (I.e. too much work, work that’s too complex or timing doesn’t work for them)
  • Seller doesn’t prepare prospect for budget/financial aspect or doesn’t bring up pro-actively at the correct stage. (I.e. sticker shock or out of budget range)
  • Prospect asks about dollars prematurely and sellers doesn’t respond appropriately.
  • Seller isn’t talking to the right people.
  • Seller hasn’t properly qualified the prospect.
  • Seller does a poor job of establishing trust or credibility.

Now that we clearly understand why stalls occur, we can employ the following actions to avoid.

Best Ways to Avoid the Stall:

  • Do pre-call planning.  Agendas for all sales calls. (I.e. don’t leave the meeting to chance)
  • Follow your sales process.  Ask all the correct questions.
  • Gain commitment for next steps early in the meeting.
  • Make sure next steps are clear and simple and appropriate.  Ask and look for clues.
  • Build value throughout the sales process and test for understanding and agreement frequently.
  • 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 buy in to avoid sticker shock.)
  • Ask about the customer’s sense of urgency and match. (I.e. why and why now?)
  • Be on the lookout for yellow flags or unresolved concerns.  Don’t ignore.
  • Build trust and credibility by doing what you say you’re going to do. Always.
  • Lots of communication – thank you, recap of meeting, follow up on action items.
  • If it’s not a fit, move on.

Your reward will be open to ring the bell more frequently with big, TOP Line Account™ ‘wins.

Executive Selling Done Right:

The TOP Seller Advantage: Powerful Strategies to Build Long-Term Executive Relationships includes proven strategies to ensure sellers develop long lasting executive access.

The C-suite executive perspectives at the end of each chapter reveal exactly how senior leaders view sales encounters and what would cause them to keep the door open for follow up meetings.  Check it out at


Lisa Magnuson is an expert in corporate strategic sales and TOP Line Account™ revenue building. As a respected sales consultant and author, Lisa works with clients to build successful strategic sales programs that drive revenue from large new accounts and enable growth from existing high value customers. Learn more at

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