Deals that stall in the last stages frequently fail to close.
All deals have a natural cadence. Depending on your product, your deal can move through the sales stages are different rhythms. Some product sales go fast, then slow then fast. Some go slow, fast, slow etc. Over time, you’ll get to know natural rhythm of your product sales.
Irrespective of the normal cadence, deals that slowdown and stall in the final phases frequently fail to close. Stalling in the final phase when the prospect really need to commit to making a change in moving forward with you and don’t.
The reasons can be obvious. Up to that point, the commitment was low. They simply had to put in time and effort to work with you to understand your product and proposition, et cetera et cetera. Now it’s getting real and they have to commit and spend money and if they are not sure that will stall.
The reason for the store can be several
• Something has happened in the business that shifted priorities;

• Something’s happened to the individual or individuals you’re working with the can change their focus on purchasing your solution;

• Or something you’ve done or your competitors have done to influence their decision. The perception they have of your product you are offering, how you’re working with them et cetera et cetera all have an influence here, and can drive them to be uncomfortable about concluding the business.

This can surface in several ways we can avoid you because they don’t want the conversation. They can defer conversations and say “look, let’s meet next month” rather than say “let’s meet in the coming days”.
They can raise questions that you’d already answered earlier on. For example, they might start to drill in on elements of the migration or ask questions like, “how exactly does this work again” and so on. All of these show discomfort on their side that can result in a deal stalling in the final stages.

Amplifying Factors: Mutual Close Plan Discovery Own it together

RED – Stalled and champion is unresponsive

This is the worst combination where your gut tells you the deal stalled and you’re unable to speak to the champion. Chasing and chasing, producing no result.

AMBER – Deal stalled and vague interest.

Pick up again. “Let’s have lunch sometime” is the day-to-day version of this where they don’t like to close the door and say no. It’s really no! Check that you’re happy with the proposition and value and consider alternative ways of reigniting the deal.

Green – Deal stalled but committed to progress.

This is okay provided there is a good reason given for the deal being stalled. However, as velocity is our friend, this removes velocity from the deal which is not good. This commitment to progress may not be backed up later with action, so be careful.

Mitigations – What to Do?

Your mutual close plan should have protected you from deals being stalled at this point. This assumes of course that the close plan was “through” rather than “to” the decision point and but to the signing point. There is nothing worse than you coming to the end of the mutual close plan you’re on the last step in at that point there unresponsive, so make sure your mutual close plan extends through the final phase.

Regular contact will frequently protect you from stalling. Sometimes you need to invent a reason to speak or meet simply to protect your close.

Try to uncover the true reason for a stall. It can happen that you’re told other people are checking something or another department needs to make sure of something which are simply excuses and not necessarily the real reason. It could be that they are stalling you while they confirm commercial details with a competitor and don’t want to progress further with you until they bottom out the offer from your competitor. Changes in behavior, and deviation from the mutual close plan without active discussion will usually indicate that.

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