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Closed Lost - Timing Not Right
The second biggest cop out in sales
When I see that a deal is lost due to ‘timing not right’ or whatever you call it in your SFDC instance, I immediately get suspicious. If the opportunity is more than a week or two old, a massive red flag is raised.
Timing not being right is just a general lack of urgency, especially if you’ve been working on a deal for weeks or months.
They either want to solve a problem that you can fix or they don’t.
If a prospect says to you “Sorry, the timing just isn’t right.”, you’ve likely made a few mistakes along the way.
Why change? Why now? Why us?
These are really the simple things that you have to know to qualify a deal.
I assume that you’ve been able to figure out why someone took a meeting with you in the first place. Someone has a problem and they want to learn if you can fix it for them or not. If you don’t know how to do this, let me know, I can do a whole post on figuring that out.
The problem is that most average sales people skip over the ‘Why Now?’ ‘Why Now’ is really difficult if you don’t know how to ask. So rather than figuring it out, you skip this question and go right to justifying ‘why us’.
“Oh, you have a problem, let me tell you why we are the right people to fix it.”
What happens, if you don’t understand ‘Why Now’, you’ll spend a few weeks justifying why you’re the right vendor and then you’ll get told that they couldn’t come up with budget or something else took priority or how much they like you, but they can’t do anything until next year. We’ve all heard it before.
You have to figure out “Why Now” to get anything to move forward.
“Why Now” is a business discussion. This is the conversation at the grown-up table. Why now let’s you know how big, or small, a problem this really is.
If I have a problem and it is costing me $10,000 a day, or I’m losing an employee a week due to this problem, or if I fixed this problem, I’d make an extra $10,000 a day, that usually isn’t something that gets pushed off.
This then should lead to the question, “well, is that a big enough problem to fix right now?"
I was working on a deal once and discovered that if they bought my software, they’d save $1MM per year. Man was I confident that they were going to buy something. No brainer saving $1MM a year. Start spending that commission money.
When I got told that the timing wasn’t right, I asked why and it turns out that I was competing against different initiatives that would save the company $5MM to $10MM per year. My $1MM was nothing. The company wasn’t going to spend resources, let alone money, just to just save $1MM. They put all the resources into fixing the $10MM problem.
Had I asked that question, is that big enough to fix now, it would have been clear that $1MM wasn’t a big enough problem to fix right away and I would have saved 3 - 4 months of work.
There is nothing wrong with timing not being right, but if you’ve spent more than a week or two on a deal, and then find out that timing isn’t right, you missed a really critical, upfront step.
I say that it is the second biggest cop out because I believe that the biggest cop out is moving a deal to “closed lost - non-responsive”. I’ll do a post on that in the next few days.
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