The Silent Deal Killer

“One of the problems the sales gang faces this time of the year as we gear up for Q1 is the “let’s table this until next year, I’m busy with year-end activities, etc. What should I do?”


Some time ago, I had an opportunity with Verizon.

Like most enterprise deals, Verizon was an exercise in patience.

In July, the prospect told me they wanted to table it until the following year.

Here’s exactly what I did to close the opp before the end of the year.

Step 1 – Quantify the cost of waiting.

What does it cost Verizon to wait for five months?

People are more motivated to avoid losses to acquire equivalent gains. It’s called loss aversion.

By way of context, Verizon wanted to increase the number of people that bought FIOS online (phone, TV, internet).

Their current conversion rate for people who started the shopping process was ~70%.

Our solution would increase that to ~80%.

The cost of waiting?

$250,000 per month.

So waiting five months would cost Verizon 1.25m.

Step 2: Poke the bear. Ask a question that makes prospects think differently about the cost of doing nothing.

Here are two things I said:

“It seems like the waiting will cost the business $250k per month or 1.25m over five months.”

“It sounds like there are other areas of the business where this investment would have a bigger impact.”

Several weeks like we got the verbal commitment.

The deal closed in October.

The takeaway?

Problems alone aren’t enough to inspire people to switch.

Problems need to be expensive because of the anxiety people have around switched to something new. (Jobs-to-be-Done)

What does it cost your prospects to do nothing?