Week 6 Challenge: Free Up a Stuck Sale

[Please note: this article, and the rest of the articles in this series, together constitute the 15  emails in the It Starts with Clients Client Growth Challenge. Please subscribe here to receive them on a weekly basis over the next 100 days]

In Week 6 of this challenge, you’ll assess a sale that is stuck or not moving forward at the rate you’d like, and identify actions you can take to free it up. Be sure to read Week 6 of It Starts with Clients, as it provides in-depth guidance on how to free up a stuck sale. The Week 6 chapter also reviews five common, challenging client scenarios that you will likely encounter during the business development process, and provides detailed strategies to master each one. BTW, If you don’t have a copy of It Starts with Clients yet, please do buy one here, on Amazon (or from your favorite bookseller). It contains a great deal of detailed “how-to” for growing your client base that is the foundation for succeeding at the 100-Day Client Growth Challenge.

When a Sale Gets Stuck

There are dozens of potential reasons why a sale gets stuck or stranded. Most of them boil down to one of these five “preconditions” for a client to buy:

  1. There is an urgent problem or opportunity that is one of their top priorities
  2. You are talking to the executive who owns the issue
  3. The client has a healthy dissatisfaction with the current rate of change
  4. The client trusts that you/your firm are the best, highest-value solution
  5. The key stakeholders are aligned

Many opportunities seems to just get bogged down in client apathy or non-responsiveness. But invariably you can draw an arrow back to one or more of these. For example, “Things were going great, the client seemed eager to start, but then suddenly we didn’t hear back from them. ” Sound familiar? Trust me, I’ve had to say it a few times myself (OK, maybe more than a few…). This often happens when the client’s priorities change and the issue is a no longer one of the client’s top priorities (precondition 1). Or, when the stakeholders are not aligned and the client can’t get the consensus and momentum to proceed (precondition 5). Or…you get the idea.

TIP: Asking better questions will help you understand whether the preconditions have been satisfied.

Asking better questions will help you understand whether the preconditions have been satisfied. Click To Tweet

For example, to assess whether the issue under discussion represents a truly urgent problem (precondition 1), you could ask questions such as:

  • “Among your various initiatives, what level of priority does this have?” Or, “Would you say this is one of your top two or three priorities right now?” (ask directly if it is a top priority, and then carefully assess the client’s answer).
  • “What else in your organization depends on this getting fixed?” (the more interdependencies, the more mission-critical it is)
  • “How does this support your strategy?” (by definition it’s pretty important if it supports a key strategic initiative)
  • What do you think is the value of fixing this problem/capturing this opportunity? (If they don’t know or if it’s not worth a lot to fix it, then how urgent can it be?)

Your Week 6 Challenge: Get Your Sale Unstuck

Here’s your Week 6 Assignment: Complete pages 24-25 in the Growth Guide. You can also click here to download this assignment as a separate PDF: Week 6 Assignment.pdf You need to analyze your opportunity, determine which preconditions are absent or weak, and identify strategies to get them into place.

In seven days I will send you your Week 7 Challenge: Anticipate and Agenda Set. So keep an eye out for the next email.

All the best,

Andrew Sobel

Founder and CEO

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