Handling objections is a daily task for sales people, but what about when the customer expresses no objection, they just tell you “not now.” That’s a stalled deal, and many pipelines are full of them. Sales managers have two problems with stalled deals:
- The longer they sit there, the higher the cost of the opportunity to the business.
- The longer they sit there, the greater the chances the client will spend elsewhere.
How do you recognize a stalled deal? The client says something like:
- I want to do this, but it’s going to have to wait until (plug in date here)
- I like you guys and this product is great but we’re happy where we are.
- This is great, but you’ll have to do better on the price.
In all these, what the customer is really saying is: “I’m trying to be polite here, but I don’t believe what you’re saying enough to do anything about it.”
I’m reading a great book by Carl Moe: Sales Revenue System 2.0 – Your CRO B2B Success Model. In it, Carl helps describe stalled deals for us by comparing them to the plight of explorer Christopher Columbus. Columbus faced what Carl calls “the Flat World Stall.” Naysayers of the day believed the world to be flat, and that any investment in Columbus’ journey would result in lost revenue as he sailed off its edge into the abyss, never to be seen again.
If Chris was like most sales organizations today, he would have come back with how robust his ships were or how professional and results-oriented his crew was. Instead, he told naysayers that indeed the world is not flat, it is round. Because it is round, we can now achieve what was previously unachievable – and that made all the difference.
What does this mean to sales people?
Until you can demonstrate a new reality and explain it to customers in a way that they can see how it changes the game, they will continue to say, in various ways “not now.” Eventually, “not now” becomes “not ever” because someone like Chris comes along and shows them a new reality that compels them to spend, leaving no budget for your someday solution. This is a concept Carl calls differentiated value. It is the unique story you tell that dramatically impacts buyer motivation because it is compelling, aligned and you are the only one saying it.
Thanks Carl for this great illustration of the power of differentiated value on client motivation. What about my readers? Do you have other stories to describe how to get stalled deals out of the funnel and back on the table?