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Deals Stalling? Forecasts a Mess? It's Not You, It's Your Process

This week's IGNITE Sales is packed with fixes, from lead qualification to mastering AI tools.

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Happy Monday & welcome! 

In today’s issue:

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FUEL the fire 🔥
Beyond the Basics: 5 Ways to Turn Curiosity into Closed Deals

Have you ever wondered why some discovery calls lead to a breakthrough, while others just fizzle out?

Let me share a little secret with you: The difference often lies in how well you understand your prospect, not just their business needs but their core challenges and desires.

It's like peeling an onion - the more layers you uncover, the closer you get to the heart of what really matters to them.

getting good at question based selling is hard, but so worth it!

 🔝Takeaway: Mastering the discovery call is like mastering the art of conversation. It is about asking the right questions, the ones that foster open, meaningful dialogue.

📰 Details:
1. How to Diagnose Business Pains During Discovery

  • Imagine going to your doctor who, instead of asking about your symptoms, starts prescribing meds right away. Sounds off, right? That's because it is.

  • Your doctor must diagnose first, and then prescribe. And you do too!

  • A stellar discovery call seeks to understand the core of the "why" behind a prospect reaching out.

2. Building Rapport: The Foundation

Remember, sales is about relationships, not just transactions. Before getting into details, take a moment to connect on a human level. Like a late-night host surprising their guest, discover a shared bond. Maybe it's a hobby, hometown, or even a funny comment on their Zoom background. This sets the stage for genuine conversation.

Don't wing it! A bit of homework goes a long way. Talk to colleagues, or even check LinkedIn. I once found out I shared an alma mater with a prospect's assistant. A small gift bag from our college led to a decade-long connection – inside info, new leads... proof that rapport unlocks opportunity!

Today's Challenge: Look at your call schedule. Take 5 minutes to find that 'connection point' for each person. You might be amazed how a tiny bit of shared experience opens big doors.

3. Setting the Agenda: Clear Expectations

Next up, setting a clear agenda. This isn't just about what you plan to talk about; it's about setting the tone for a collaborative conversation. It's your chance to let the prospect know that this call is as much about them as it is about you.

4. Deep Dive: Asking the Right Questions

Here's where the doctor analogy really comes into play. You need to ask questions that get to the heart of your prospect's challenges, fears, and aspirations. It's not about ticking boxes; it's about understanding their world inside out. This deep dive not only reveals key insights but also shows you care.

Consider what questions related to time will yield different insights.

5. Moving Towards the Close: A Tailored Approach

Armed with this understanding, you're in a prime position to tailor your pitch. It's not about pushing a product; it's about offering a solution that feels bespoke because, well, it is. You've listened, understood, and now you're responding to their unique needs.

💡 Action It: "Tired of 'meh' discovery calls? Uncover the questions that close deals..."
Ready to transform your discovery calls from good to great? It's time to dive deeper, ask better questions, and truly connect with your prospects. Download our action guide to learn a powerful framework for discovery - my PACT Framework™

Avoid the Frankenstein Deal and Forecast with Conviction

Let's approach this "Sales Flight Deck" section with the same spirit we bring to all aspects of sales. I approach sales with heart, and will add some of my experiences.

Today, we're going to talk about a common issue in sales: deals that get stuck and forecasts that don't seem realistic. Trust me, I've seen a lot of deals that turned into "Frankenstein" monsters. Random parts were put together without much planning.

Sales Process Isometric Illustration by koctia

Let's look at why this happens and how following the basics from the start can help you avoid trouble in the future.

Discipline: Your Sales Compass

Think of discipline in sales as your North Star. Missing steps early on is like setting sail without checking your compass. You might end up somewhere, but chances are it won't be where you intended to go. I've learned this the hard way. Trust me, a deal gone wrong can be a sobering lesson in the importance of discipline.

The "Frankenstein" Deal: A Cautionary Tale

I'll never forget this one deal—let's call it "The Frankenstein." It was a patchwork of missed steps and hurried decisions. On paper, it looked alive, but in reality, it was a horror show. The deal lacked a solid foundation because we jumped too quickly. We skipped vital discovery steps and didn't align our solution with the client's needs. The lesson? A deal stitched together from mismatched parts is bound to crumble when lightning strikes.

Do you have a “Frankenstein Deal?”

Crafting a Disciplined Sales Strategy

  1. Lead with strict qualification. Just like you wouldn't start a journey without knowing your destination. Don't dive into a deal without thoroughly qualifying your leads. I've seen too many opportunities evaporate because we thought we could wing it.

  2. Discovery: Your Map to Success: Picture this: you're on a treasure hunt, but instead of a map, you go off vague memories and gut feelings. Sounds risky, right? That's what skipping the discovery phase is like. Dive deep into understanding your client's world. Ask the right questions, listen actively, and piece together their real pain points.

    I remember when I kept hearing no from a prospect. When they went with my competitor, I brushed it off. However, decided to call back in 30 days to see how their project was doing.

    It wasn’t. They shared that the trust had evaporated from working with my competitor, and they had not made any progress. The believed their product was nothing more than “smoke & mirrors.”

    I could literally feel the tension vanish.

    The were so happy I called (and so was I). It taught me that no means “not right now”. So next time a prospect ghosted, I didn’t get defensive, I asked more detailed questions about the why behind the decision, and also about the how. Things can, and often do turn on a dime. Asking questions may give you a sense for when to revisit them to see if anything changed.

  1. Follow-Up Like a Pro: Imagine nurturing a plant. One watering won't do it – you need consistent care. The same goes for your prospects.

    Think back to a seemingly dead lead that turned into my biggest sale. Each call felt like a waste of time at first. Why? Turns out they'd been badly burned by a competitor. Once we got past that distrust, their real problem became clear. We offered a way to de-risk the deal with an implementation guarantee. That won them over!

    Lesson learned: Every customer is different. Some need nurturing to bloom – and can then become loyal for years!

  2. Value Communication: Ever tried to sell a pen to someone who doesn't know they need it? It's a tough sell. But show them how that pen can change their life, and suddenly, they can't live without it. That's the power of clearly communicating your value.

  3. Deal Review: The Reality Check: Every now and then, it's crucial to step back and assess the health of your deals. Are you on course, or drifting into the storm? Regular reviews keep you aligned with your goals and your client's expectations.

Wrapping Up

Remember, a disciplined approach to sales isn't about restricting your creativity or boxing you in. It's about giving you a solid framework. You can channel your efforts effectively within it.

Pilots need a flight plan to navigate. Technicians need a manual and checklist to fix things. A sales professional needs a disciplined sales process. They need a strategy to steer deals to a successful close.

Let's not build Frankensteins. Let's craft well-thought-out, disciplined deals. This will lead to success for both us and our clients.

If you're looking for more insights on how to keep your deals from turning into horror stories, download our checklist. It's packed with strategies and tips to keep your sales process disciplined and on track.

Until next time, continue to build your sales discipline.

AI insights⚙️
AI Revolutionizes Business & Creativity – Are You Ready?

AI Revolutionizes Business & Creativity – Are You Ready?

AI's promise – think endless possibilities – is finally becoming reality. The Wall Street Journal reports it's no longer just hype, and experts agree AI will upend how we work. Get ready for the ride!

DeepMind Shatters Barriers

Imagine an AI that 'reads' 750,000 words, like an entire book series. Then it turns silent movies into detailed summaries. Google's Gemini 1.5 does exactly that! It goes beyond text - understanding nuance and emotion at unprecedented levels. This means AIs will soon analyze ANY data we throw at them.

OpenAI's 'Sora' Turns Words into Worlds

Fancy being your own movie studio? Just type a description, and 'Sora' generates realistic, Hollywood-quality footage. 60-minute films from nothing but prompts! This levels up content creation - think training videos, ads, whatever you dream up.

ChatGPT Gets a Superpower...Memory!

Picture a brainstorming partner who remembers EVERYTHING from past conversations. That's OpenAI's new upgrade. This personalized touch creates the most human-like AI yet! Now imagine that same tech turbocharging your CRM...mind blown, right?

Why YOU Should Care:

These aren't just tech toys. Imagine:

  • AI analyzes sales data to write killer, tailored pitch emails in seconds

  • You feed it your business plan, and it generates SWOT strengths you didn't even notice

  • A virtual 'focus group' tests ANY idea before launch, saving you $$$

'Ambient Computing': Tech as Second Nature

This AI wave will reshape daily life. Technology disappears, serving us intuitively. You walk into a meeting room, and AI preps a client summary from public info before you even sit down. Creativity goes limitless with an AI co-pilot for videos, marketing, even storytelling.

The Future is NOW...Stay Ahead of the Curve

It's happening FAST. Don't fall behind – understand this tech and how it might fit YOUR unique niche. That's how you ride the wave, not get wiped out by it.

Why Grit Beats Talent in Sales (and How to Get Grittier)

The path to success is not a straight line. It is filled with twists, turns, and obstacles. But it is the journey itself that shapes us and makes us stronger. So embrace the setbacks, learn from them, and never give up on your dreams. Remember, it is not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.

Want proof this works?

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Albert Einstein

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