The Big Reason You Didn’t Close That Long Lingering Deal

It’s frustrating as a newer Sales rep to fall for deals, pursue them for months, and ultimately not get a closure. It’s even more frustrating for experienced Sales reps when it happens to them.

While it happened to me more than once, I finally realized the cause and here I’m finally trying to put my experience in words.

In the field of software sales, cracking larger deals takes time, sometimes, several months. It happened to me in multiple instances that the deal was ongoing for months (Yes, 9+ months), yet, didn’t close.

The prospect simply responded-

‘We’ve decided not to go ahead with this, we’re heading in a different direction’.

Does this sound familiar? Were you in a similar fix?

Now, your world seems upside down for a moment. You believed that ‘THIS WAS THE DEAL’, the logo of the buyer could have been a game changer. The dollar value could have met quarter of your quota easily. All the recommendations and praise you were dreaming of, just vanished and went *Poof*.

The toil and trouble of all those months starts flashing in front of your eyes.

You remember all the email blogs that you read, just to avoid sending the prospect, ‘Just Checking in’, emails.

You remember all the Sales meetings when your boss asked, ‘When are we having them onboard?’, and you always smiled and said ‘Soon enough’.

It all seems like a break up for no fault of yours!

Now, let’s rewind a little and I’ll share the three instances and the reasons why it happened to me-

  1. The person in contact at the buyer’s company changed his/her job :< (Simply luck? Maybe)

2. A new person joins your buyer’s company, at a higher authority than your internal champion, and has used your competitor in the past — doesn’t even want to evaluate your product (Luck again? Maybe)

3. Priorities have changed and new projects have taken over

In all of the 3 instances, the deals that I was hell bent on closing, lingered for more than 6 months for a product with an average buying cycle of 2–4 months.

Then, I began to think, what went wrong? I’m sure you can relate. Possibly, you also must have faced a similar situation. If not, WATCH OUT!

The buyer was close to us. We were literally like buddies. Your emails gradually changed from ‘’Hope you’ve been well’’, to ‘’Hey John, What’s Up?’’

Then what went wrong…

Didn’t they like you? Oh, they did.

Didn’t they like your product and services? They loved it.

Was the pricing in their budget? Absolutely, Yes.

Didn’t you regularly follow up? Yes, that was the crux of it all!

Then again, what was missing…

As humans, it’s sometimes okay to believe that people don’t like to be rude once they have a close relation/rapport with you. It’s hard to hurt others. Till now, your prospects have only been saying what you wanted to hear and you have been making castles in the air.

Yet, the truth was different. If the prospect was actually close to you, (being the only decision maker), how come the topic of changing the job role never came up? (I’ve been asking this question to myself for a while now)

Lesson Learnt: Imroving Your Current Lead Qualification Process

Though every inbound lead that pops in, looks like your next sale, still needs to be qualified. Improve your qualification criteria, make it more specific. Here is an article that assists in the process —

Qualify, better qualify and and if the deal is still going on for longer than it should, with simple responses like-

‘We’ve been busy with other things’.

You need to “REQUALIFY’’ and keep your pipeline healthy to avoid such ‘bad surprises’.

The ultimate learning

Deals can get lost because of unusual circumstances, but most of the lost deals that are attributed to luck and bad surprises are simply because of the Sales Rep not qualifying the prospect right.

Don’t let it happen to you more than once!

Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating!

Cheers! :) :P