Diagnosing a Stalled Sale

By Cindy Waxer

Dealing with a stalled sale? Well, get out your jumper cables. According to Kevin Temple, president of ValueVision Associates, to jumpstart a stalled sale you must first diagnose the reasons behind it.

Temple offers five explanations for a sale in limbo.

1. Lack of connection to a critical business issue.
It’s not enough for your company’s products and services to be top-notch. They must also meet a prospect’s immediate needs. Temple says, “If a customer cannot perceive your solution as being connected to a critical business issue, they will prioritize you very low on their activity level.”

2. Lack of perceived value.
“Most people can really only juggle five or six critical issues at a time. If your solution, from their perspective, doesn’t have enough value to get in their top five or six, you get stalled or put on the back burner,” warns Temple.

3. Determining differentiation.
You’re not the only salesperson vying for a prospect’s business, so you must distinguish your company from the pack if you wish to be the vendor of choice, says Temple. “If a customer has more than one vendor to choose from, but they cannot determine the difference between them, the sale goes into a stall.”

4. No reason for risk.
Introducing new products and services means accepting change – a task that is made all the more difficult if a salesperson fails to convince a prospect that temporary discomfort is worth the risk. According to Temple, “If the customer has not seen enough evidence to help them feel comfortable with making the change, they will stall.”

5. Decision authority out of arms reach.
If you are not dealing directly with the decision-maker, you have to be sure that your entire message gets to the person with purchasing power. Temple warns, “If the salesperson’s contact does not successfully convey the message to the decision-maker, then the sale will stall.”