How To Make Sure Your Deals Stay On Track
Posted on September 22nd, 2023 to Uncategorized
Are you increasingly having to figure out how to get deals back on track when your contact stops responding? Leads that seemed to be so close to signing the deal but somehow, somewhere, fell off the sales process?
Grappling with buyers who are slow to make decisions or pushing out timelines?
Dealing with drastic 11th-hour changes to scopes of work?
Welcome to 2023.
This year, leads and sales processes have been incredibly unpredictable.
But there is a way to avoid a prolonged, uncertain or unpredictable sales process.
In this blog post, you’ll learn how to ask “tension” questions without being too salesy, so you can decrease the chances of your deals going off track — and how to approach getting leads back on schedule when they get ghosty 👻
This post will help you manage expectations — yours and theirs — and you’ll be able to positively influence how the sales process unfolds.
Let’s get into it.
Avoid Getting Ghosted: Discovery Questions To Curb Surprises
Before we get to how to re-engage deals that have gone cold, let’s take a look at three proactive questions you can ask before even submitting your proposal.
That way, you can be confident that you’ve done everything possible to make sure the sales process doesn’t go off course.
#1: What Have You Tried In the Past?
This is a powerful question because this information will help you figure out who the “Influencers” or “Jokers” are that might slow the process down or, in some cases, completely sabotage your deal.
If they’ve tried to fix this problem in the past but have been unsuccessful, there might be more to the story than meets the eye.
#2: Do Others See the Problem The Same Way?
Your contact is one of many in the organization that the problem touches, so how do these other folks see the problem?
Do you need to help your potential client create alignment?
When you understand the moving parts, you can anticipate the challenges and partner with your contact to get the deal closer to the finish line.
You may have to take off your expert hat and become the mediator, but you’re up for the challenge if that’s what it takes to get the job done.
#3: What might get in the way?
This may surprise you: Your deals are not typically won or lost based on whether or not you’re qualified to do the work.
You’re in the room talking to the company, which means you’re qualified and considered an expert capable of doing the work.
Rather, the deal is won or lost by your ability to identify and solve the tensions — or, blockers — that exist internally.
That’s when your contract gets done.
LinkedIn just came out with a stat that 89% of buyers like to be challenged by the people who are selling.
The takeaway? Clients want the hard truths; they don’t want to be told they’re the best thing since sliced bread!
These questions will help you get out in front of any challenge or obstacle that might cause your deal to go off the rails later on..
But there will be a time when you’ll have to employ the tactics in the next section.
How to Re-Engage Leads When the Deal Has Gone Cold: Thoughtful Follow-Up
Let’s set the scene:
You’ve done your discovery, asked the tension questions and sent the proposal, and then … nothing.
They’ve gone cold.
So, what do you do?
I advise my clients to maintain communication by adding value and a personal touch. In your conversations leading up to the proposal, pay close attention to what they care about — both personally and professionally — and send them thoughtful emails.
By doing this, you can continue to build and maintain the relationship without being a pushy salesperson.
Here are a few creative ways my clients have re-engaged leads this year:
- An executive coach who knew her lead was hoping to find a new job and relocate to France — she was able to introduce the lead to a group of French hiring managers, thereby re-engaging the lead and reinvigorating the deal.
- A creative agency owner who knew her lead was interested in doing more public speaking. When her deal went cold, she tapped her network to find a speaking opportunity for the lead — and that deal closed two weeks later.
- A founder of a D.E.I. consultancy who was able to re-engage a lead by sharing her Iceland vacation itinerary, a destination the lead mentioned wanting to visit.
How to Steward the Deal: Stay Close to the Action
As I mentioned earlier, the goal is to avoid having to re-engage leads that have gone rogue, and this is an advanced tool that takes a bit of chutzpah.
This approach is called a Mutual Decision Plan, and it works really well when you’re working with a Champion inside a complex organization.
These contacts are harried and overwhelmed. They know that this proposal has to jump through a lot of hoops for it to get approved, and they need you to put pen to paper and create a mutual decision plan for action.
Here’s what it looks like:
Image: Allison Davis
After your Fingerprints Meeting, where you’ve collaborated and co-created that proposal, you can ask them, “What needs to happen next?”
Based on what they disclose, you can then put together a timeline where you have an impactful role in stewarding the proposal forward.
This requires patience and time, but it beats shoving a proposal at them and hoping for the best.
Plus, you’ll stay close to your buyer and closer to the action, which tips the scales in your favor of winning the contract.
You can ask your contact: What do you need to make a sound decision for yourself?
Usually, they’ll reveal their next steps internally, and you can then make suggestions based on what they reveal.
In Conclusion: Add Value, Get Involved, Lead With Strategy
If you’re wondering how to re-engage leads that have gone rogue, the tips we covered in this post should help you.
- Ask tension questions before you send the proposal. Be bold, challenge your contact and find out who and what stands in your way.
- Add Value and Get Curious: Not making any progress? Put business aside and find a new way to connect and make a lasting impression.
- Be Bold and Make a Plan: Busy decision-makers appreciate you stewarding the process forward. Create an action plan with their input and provide the path forward.
There are a few key ways to connect and re-engage your leads. Get curious, creative and crafty, so you’re not wasting your time chasing down business that isn’t worth your time.
If you’re looking to design a sales strategy for your business and want a playbook to execute on, with my support, I’d love to support you. Check out The Sales Playbook, book a call, and we’ll figure out your next best step.