CSO Insights estimates that roughly one-third of sales opportunities end in ‘No Decision’ which is a sign that something is amiss in the sales cycle.  The goal of a sales process is to quickly establish whether there is a strong enough business case to win the deal, and if not, then get to a ‘No’ fast. 

Deals get stuck for three reasons:

  1. There is no sense of urgency
  2. The salesperson made a mistake (inadequate discovery; shortchanged a sales step, did not clearly articulate the value)
  3. The buyer did not want to say ‘No’

To keep a deal from getting stuck, the problem you solve must be important enough to warrant fixing.  There is no point in trying to fix small problems that buyers can live with.  That’s why deals are won or lost in the discovery phase.

Here’s what you need to know after a discovery call:

  • What the problem is you solve
  • Why they need the problem to go away.
  • What happens if it doesn’t
  • How much pain or negative impact is created by the problem
  • How many people it affects
  • How big the problem is compared to other priorities in the organization

But you have to cover all this ground in 3 questions or less.  What seems to work is some variation on the following:

  • What prompted you to take this call today?
  • Tell me about where your process seems to be getting slowed.
  • What have you tried to fix it?

Deals get stuck because sales did something wrong.  There is a disconnect between what the buyer wants to achieve, how important it is, and how you help them get there.  So, if the deal is worth it, find out why it got stuck, and whether there is something you can do to get back on track.