Executing an effective sales campaign can be very challenging. Rarely will a deal go smoothly from start to finish without the need to confront a variety of obstacles. The truth is, most big and complex deals are a roller coaster ride with many emotional highs and lows that will test your patience and perseverance at every twist and turn. Although you may think things are going well, setbacks are inevitable and it’s important to recognize and act on problems as they occur. Listed below are seven warning signs you are losing your deal and how you can recover and avoid these problems in the first place.
- Communication Cadence Has Broken Down. If your customer suddenly goes silent or your communication pattern with them dramatically changes, you have a problem. Make sure to establish multiple relationships with your customer and never rely on just one person to close your sale. By doing so, you will prevent getting shut out by having other contacts to call for an update.
- The Compelling Event Has Vanished. This is a serious problem which can happen for many reasons and you need to get to the bottom of it right away. If you have done your job correctly during the sales cycle, you will know about the most important business benefits your product will provide. Avoid focusing your sales pitch to a single compelling event and you’ll have the flexibility to redirect your pitch to other benefits when needed. Thus, you will be less likely to lose your deal if the compelling event you were counting on never happens.
- Brand New Requirements Are Raised At The Last Minute. Quickly assess the validity of these new requirements and determine if you still have a viable solution. Meet with your customer to confirm their requirements, how your solution addresses them, and prioritize those against the new ones. It’s possible that the new requirements aren’t actually that important after all.
- Budget Has Been Slashed. Most times, this will be very difficult to overcome especially if there’s a mandate to cut expenses. However, if the problem you’re solving is a high priority for your customer, money can and will be found. It’s crucial that you identify your customers’ real needs during your sales campaign and establish a solid business case to justify an investment in your solution. Get creative and help your customer substantiate the purchase with hard facts and benefits and don’t depend on or expect them to do it all on their own.
- Key Players Have Changed. If your customer advocate or other key individuals change roles, this will also be a major setback. Bring everyone together new and old to review their requirements along with how your solution addresses them, and educate the new players on your success to date. If your solution has enough business impact, the project will go on. If not, you will struggle with the new team to keep them motivated to move your sale forward.
- No Approval To Spend Money. Important projects that support key business initiatives typically get funded. Successful sales people find out if a project is budgeted at the beginning of their sales campaign. They will also confirm who is empowered and willing to sign their deal. Save time, energy, and expensive resources by confirming this upfront to avoid a major let down after it’s too late.
- Your Competitor Has Taken The Lead. Reinforce and focus on the strengths of your solution but don’t be naive about those of your competitors. Find out what your competitor has offered that changed your position to determine if you can make up for it with your solution. Often times, your competitors will emphasize your products’ weaknesses. Make sure you find out how important those items might be to your customer before they become an issue for you.
By using these sales tips to recognize critical warning signs during your sales cycle, you will increase your chances for success with each opportunity you work on, and overcome obstacles you encounter along the way.
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