How to Reassess the Deal You’ve Been Working On
Every salesperson has worked with a prospect that has dragged their feet on making a final decision. You may be working with one right now.
We covered this topic in an episode of The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast. John Kaplan shared how to reignite your stalled deals and differentiate yourself from other competition that may still have a foot in the door (including a do-nothing or do-it-internally option).
Here are questions you can ask yourself to define where you may need to go back and reassess an opportunity.
1. Have you clearly quantified the business pain?
More often than not, if your opportunity is not moving forward, you haven’t dug deep enough on the negative consequences. Let’s say you’re solving a problem with payment processing and you know that your solution will get the buyer paid faster. However, do you know how much money they’re losing out on because they haven’t had a solution in place? What is that loss costing them? Have they made their own conclusion about these urgent and negative consequences of their business pain?
Uncovering business pain is the first step to your buyers correcting their issues and seeing a return on their investment with your company. Without a clear quantification of the business pain, it’s difficult to move a deal forward. Finding a big business pain and its impact on the business could be the one thing that moves your prospect to action, rather than letting your proposal simply sit in their inbox.
In addition to quantifying the business pain, do you know who owns that business pain? Are you dealing with the person whose job is on the line if it’s not fixed? Or perhaps the person who has a vested interest in getting a solution in place? These are critical factors you need to uncover at the same time you’re uncovering business pains.
2. Have you articulated your competitive differentiation?
Opportunities are won and lost on competitive differentiation. How do you solve your customer’s problems differently and/or better than the competition? More importantly, how does your differentiation help your buyer achieve their desired outcomes? Make your differentiation relevant and meaningful to your buyer. You may have a more robust reporting structure, but if your buyer cares only about one metric that your competitor can also provide, that differentiator won’t help you move the deal forward. Reassess how you have positioned your solution against alternative options and determine whether or not you can make a stronger tie to the buyer’s required capabilities. Here are some steps you can take to make your solution stand out from the competition and articulate its value in a way that’s meaningful to your buyer.
3. Have you articulated why you’re a better option than a do-nothing or do-it-internally option?
As you know, your chief competition can often be a buyer wavering to “do nothing” or “do it internally”. If you’re reassessing your deal, don’t forget to think about how you may be able to better position your solution against the prospect taking no action or trying to solve the problem themselves.
In these situations, you’re still differentiating against an alternative and you need to do it in a way that demonstrates value to the buyer. When you position your solution against the buyer doing nothing — you need the ability to differentiate against the pain of the problem. Consider:
- How will your solution impact the current pain?
- Have you articulated a large enough impact for them to take action?
- How can your solution get your buyer to their positive business outcome faster and more efficiently?
If your prospect is thinking about doing an internal initiative rather than going with a vendor, you have to differentiate based on the outcome. Here are a few ways you can create justification for an urgent and premium solution.
4. Do you understand the decision process?
Any decision process is made of two components:
- A validation process: the evaluation around how your solution will satisfy the buyer’s requirements.
- An approval process: the sequence of events that need to happen to get the contract signatures.
You need to ensure you understand both components of the decision process and if you don’t, that could be why your deal isn’t moving forward. Remember, as part of your buyer-focused sales conversations, you need to qualify the opportunity based on the validation and approval processes. Ideally, you need to do this as you execute discovery. However, if your deal is stalled, you may need to backtrack and effectively define these two processes. Think of yourself as a “buyer assistant” and play the role of coaching your prospect through a well-vetted decision process that yields mutually beneficial results. You may know from your own experience, sometimes it’s just as tough to sell an idea internally for your prospect as it is for an outside vendor.
Minimize and Reignite Stalled Deals in Your Pipeline
While it’s not impossible to cut out stalled deals for good, there are actions you can take to ensure you’re focused on the right opportunities and progressing them effectively. It all starts with an effective discovery approach. Improve your discovery skills by constantly refining them and taking note of what’s working for you, and what isn’t. Here’s a podcast to get you started.