Stalled Sale? … Put a Price Tag on Doing Nothing

Stalled Sale? … Put a Price Tag on Doing Nothing

When I train sales teams one of the common questions is; “How do I fix the problem of the stalled sale?” Sales stall and buyers go dark for a number of reasons. I have heard numbers as high as 30%-50% of pending sales in pipelines will stall and possibly never happen. One technique that gets the sale back on track to close is assigning a price of doing nothing and reinforcing it with your buyer(s).

If you have been in sales for any length of time you have experienced the stalled sale. You set out on a journey with your buyer.You had a great meeting with the buyer and influencers, you presented your solution to the identified problems, you had all the buying signals, and the buyer indicated you will get his business but then the sale seems to stall. Key buyer deliverables are missed, your follow up voice and emails are not returned and unfortunately you have probably shared your anticipated new sale you thought was in the bag with your manager who is now driving you nuts with “where’s the order?” This buyer journey now seems to have stopped or maybe just stalled. What should we do now?

Buyers always have choices;

  • Buy from you
  • Buy from your competitor
  • Try to make do and fix it themselves
  • Do nothing

How do you fix stalled sales and drive them to a close?

Once you have diagnosed and prioritized buyer pain you must assign a value on the buyer doing nothing.

Assuming you have listened and now clearly understand the problem the buyer is trying to solve, what is the cost of doing nothing? For example, let’s say you are selling industrial equipment that is more efficient and saves energy. Very quickly you can assign a weekly dollar value of not making a decision and not fixing the problem. Once you identify that cost in dollars, energy inefficiency, or other measurements share that information with your buyer(s) and all sale influencers. In this same example you may also identify the cost of lost production if the current equipment fails. When you first determined the requirements for the buyer and his team, you should already have identified these pain points, their assigned threshold and value. For example, if a CEO is involved they are focused on driving revenues, bottom line profits and eliminating any risk that stands in the way of executing their vision. They know what a lost order is worth. The CFO knows what their overall energy consumption is and you can identify how your product can reduce this cost and by how much. CFO’s struggle with manufacturing variances and the real dollars associated with them.

Your follow up communications will take the tone of wanting prevent the pain we identified early and reduce or eliminate that pain’s associated cost as quick as possible as opposed to a acting like a typical commission junkie needing a fix.  Your communication becomes about wanting to serve your client, and they are about your client and not about what you want. (The sale)

What are your buyer’s pains?

What is the cost of your buyer doing nothing?

Are there buyer pains that cannot have a cost of doing nothing associated with them?

Has your team used this technique? If so please share how it worked.

The stalled sale can be very frustrating and the longer the sale lags the higher your chances are of losing the sale. A phrase I share with a number of teams is “time kills sales deals” and I have personally experienced this to be true. Our job as salespeople is to clearly understand the problem, its pain, and assign a cost if the buyer does nothing.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Interesting post,

    What you are describing is what I am living right now. In first and second quarter I was really happy to see my quote activity rise from the dead. A number of those customers indicated they would buy, and here we are in August?

    I do not believe any of them have bought from a competitor, but they are in a holding pattern. It feels like someone put the breaks on all my quotes and the buyers have gone “dark” as you say above.If I can not assign a specific cost of doing nothing, given my type of product/service what do you recommend?

    Thanks for the post


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