Rachel Williams, March 31, 2020
As sales reps, we’ve all been there when an interested prospect suddenly goes cold. It’s a tricky situation that requires persistence and a team effort. Stalled sales deals can put a dent in achieving your quota, especially when you thought the opportunity was sure to result in a won deal. With a true consultative selling approach, you can increase your chances of revival.
A stalled deal is different depending on the company, sales cycle and a number of other factors. Generally speaking, it’s one that once had movement but has stopped moving forward. You’ll know it’s stalled when you make attempts to connect with the prospect and complete next steps, but they do not cooperate or engage with you and may even begin to give canned responses to your questions that you know aren’t accurate.
Your deal is stuck until you can get the prospect actively participating again. Taking a consultative selling approach, it’s important that your reps are on top of the ball to keep the momentum going and create top-of-mind awareness.
We’re sharing our best strategies to revive stalled sales deals and free email templates that you can incorporate in your outreach strategy immediately.
1. Build relationships with more than one contact. Think about this scenario: you’ve been working a deal with the same contact, and they suddenly leave the company—making you the last priority. Be proactive and take note of other contacts you’ve been introduced to along the way or seen copied on email; you may need them later in the process. Stay in touch with these other participants throughout the sales cycle, instead of waiting to reach out to them until you can’t reach your main contact. If you’ve established these relationships, you’re not showing up needing a favor if your main connection ghosts you. Instead, you have a higher likelihood of having multiple people’s buy-in that will help you if you can’t get someone to respond.
2. Always get your prospect on the calendar for a follow-up. Before you get off a call or end an email with a prospect, make sure you’re both on the same page about the next step. The best thing to do is propose another meeting, be clear about its purpose and get them on the calendar right then. This approach:
Keeps you in the conversation with your prospect and helps you stay in control of timing
Holds your prospect accountable. Even if there is a hurdle in the process, it gives your prospect a reason to share more information about it once you get on the phone with them again, rather than ghosting you
Shows your prospect you care about their success and are taking the project seriously
3. Keep a pulse on why things aren’t moving. Your contact joins the call, but they have bad news—there’s a stall in the purchase approval or an internal process change. While it’s great that you have them on the phone to understand why things are slowing down, you need to make sure to keep in contact with them. Just as before, get them on the calendar to touch base in a few days. Even if things are in the same state when it comes time for the next call, the meeting will serve as a reason for them to tell you why the project is still stalled.
4. Leverage your consultative selling skills to get your interested prospect back on board. You run into the worst-case scenario: your prospect ghosts you for a follow-up call and gives you no context. Keep in mind that if you’re taking a true consultative selling approach this kind of hurdle is rare, but using this check-in cadence will help get you out of the dust. Your super effective discovery call will also come in handy at this point. If you successfully gathered information around their pain and true need, there’s no better time to put it into play than here.
a. Day of no-show:
Forwarded follow-up email. Take your most recent email correspondence and forward it with a message about rescheduling your call. This helps remind your prospect of their initial interest and why they need a solution like yours.
Subject line: Fwd: (Your company) and (your prospect’s company) touch base
Wanted to check in about rescheduling our call for this afternoon to discuss (insert challenge/solution). I completely understand that you’re busy, but let’s connect about where you all are in the process and how we can help! Here’s my link to reschedule: calendly.com/yourschedulinglink.
b. Day 3 after no-show. Reference the pain point you unearthed during the discovery and tie it back to the value your solution will bring. It reminds your prospect that they came to you with this problem and the odds of it disappearing on its own are pretty slim.
Subject line: Still dealing with (insert high-level overview of pain point)?
Following up to learn more about how things are going at (insert company). You mentioned that (insert pain point) was impacting you in the following ways (expand on pain point). Since I haven’t heard from you, it sounds like some of those challenges may have worked themselves out? I’d love to reconnect to share more about how we can help you solve these issues if they are still there. Here’s my link to schedule: calendly.com/yourschedulinglink.
c. Day 6 after no-show. Take it a step further by not only reiterating the pain point but also what was discussed during the demo or previous sales calls around how your product or service is a solution.
Subject line: Remember how (insert your company) can help you with (insert pain point)?
Remember during the demo when we discussed how (insert feature/benefit from your product or service – think back on what was most exciting to your prospect during the demo) would help you solve (insert pain point)? Here’s a case study that shows how (x company) facing the same challenge eliminated it within weeks of implementing (insert your product or service). Let’s jump on a call so I can answer any final questions you have: calendly.com/yourschedulinglink.
We can’t stress enough the importance of the initial discovery call—it’s truly the backbone of a consultative selling strategy. Use the information gathered as your compass throughout the sales cycle, for stalled sales deals and at other stages, and your team will be set up for success to sell more, more efficiently.
Keep an eye out for a future post on what to do if you still haven’t heard back from your prospect after these email exchanges.
Enjoyed this post? Our Sales Playbook Series offers proven strategies and free takeaways to help sales teams implement true consultative selling practices to meet their quota and then some while building better relationships with prospects:
Cold emails that convert (email template to copy and paste and implement in your process right away)
Decrease sales no-show rates and have the most productive meeting (reminder cadences, content best practices and more!)
Sales discovery call questions to guide your consultative selling strategy (list of call questions to start using today)
Rachel is our Director of Sales at Calendly. She loves her kids, her cat, and software sales in January.
This checklist introduces best practices for SMBs to follow to put your best foot forward online.
So much of closing a deal, especially for SaaS products, revolves around sales demonstrations.