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4 tips for closing a deal that has hit a wall, according to a HubSpot Sales Director

Some deals hit walls — that‘s just an unfortunate fact of sales life. As wonderful as it would be to have every sales engagement run smoothly end-to-end and amount to an amicable, productive resolution, that’s just not how things work.

As a salesperson, you‘re almost guaranteed to have to handle this kind of situation at some point in your professional life. So to help you best approach this dilemma when the time comes, I’ve put together a list of four key tips I’ve learned over my career for closing a deal that has lost steam.

Let’s take a look.

4 tips for closing a deal that’s stalling

1. Verify that you’re solving the problem — not a symptom caused by the real problem

Stalled deals are often a byproduct of a salesperson locking in on more superficial, symptomatic issues their prospects are dealing with — as opposed to the actual problem those issues stem from. It’s like the difference between prescribing a cure for migraines and telling a patient to take some ibuprofen.

In sales, there’s a distinction to be made between speaking to real pain points and pointing out the fact that a prospect is experiencing pain in general. Misaligned problem-solving often stalls deals — and not getting to the why behind a prospect’s problems is often where misalignment starts.

If you can’t convince a prospect that your solution is the one best equipped to fit their unique challenges and circumstances, you’re going to have a hard time getting a deal over the finish line — so, naturally, you need to demonstrate that you have a thorough, fundamental understanding of what those challenges and circumstances actually are.

For instance, let‘s say you’re selling call-tracking software, and you‘re on your way to closing a startup that has struggled with converting cold calls. You can’t approach the deal from the perspective of, “We’re going to ensure that you successfully connect with more prospects over the phone.”

Instead, you need to come from a place like, “Your current cold calling strategy is under-informed. Without transcription, automatic call logging, and contact data-backed insights like ours, your reps aren’t receiving the necessary coaching and context to connect with prospects as effectively as possible.”

Again, you want to lock in on the why behind a deal — it’s much more effective than focusing on the what when trying to get a stalled deal back in motion.

2. Sell based on your buyer’s self-proclaimed reasons for their timeline — not your own interests

Modern sales is as prospect-centric as the field has ever been — so shockingly, you‘re going to want to put your prospect’s needs, interests, and timeline at the centre of your deal. I’ve seen a lot of reps be tempted to force things along in the interest of hitting quota or making commission.

Many salespeople will say things like, “Buy this month, and we’ll get you a discount” — and while that might seem like a way to allay budget-related objections from a buyer, there’s definitely more in that approach for the seller than the prospect.

Proper selling occurs when a deal‘s closing time comes from a true understanding of the buyer’s timeline. For instance, they might say something like, “We have a new product launch in Q2 that we need to level up our game for — we’re hiring more sales reps next month and need tools to enable them to sell better.”

If that‘s the case, you need to shape your approach around that launch — even if it’s not totally ideal for you personally. You need to listen intently and have a pulse on what they see as optimal timing. Structure your efforts around that, and you’ll have a better sense of how and when to best approach pushing a stalling deal over the finish line.

3. Better understand your buyer’s company’s priorities

Closing a stalling deal often rests on you having a holistic understanding of what your buyer’s entire company is facing. A lot of salespeople connect with an influencer or champion and wind up selling exclusively on that contact’s individual pain points.

But in many of those cases, those contacts can be selfish. They might be trying to make their own lives easier by buying your product or service — but most modern B2B purchases require input from multiple stakeholders.

You might have a champion who loves everything about you, your business, and your offering, but you won‘t get anywhere by appealing to them exclusively — you need company buy-in. You have to align yourself with their business’s broader priorities and sell on that basis. That is often the difference between a deal that hits a wall and one that breaks through it.

4. Go negative

You should resort to this point if you ever get the sense that a prospect is ghosting you. Go negative. Call out the fact that you feel that this deal is no longer a priority. Ask for permission to leave the prospect alone and move on to a different client — respectfully, of course.

Ideally, you‘ll have developed trust with them early on in the sales process — lean on that, and let them know you’re sensing a dip in interest. A lot of the time, a sale starts at “no”, but you need to work through a “maybe” in order to get there.

Solve for the prospect to get stalled deals back in motion.

Virtually every point made in this article revolves around one key principle that guides most successful sales efforts — solving for the prospect. Each tip here involves putting their needs, interests, and priorities first.

You need to do everything you can to understand and accommodate their unique circumstances, goals, timelines, and pain points if you want to consistently see your deals through.

If you don‘t, you’re going to leave behind a long trail of “almost” deals in your wake — along with plenty that never got off the ground in the first place.

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