9 Magic Guidelines For Pulling Away Or Pushing Through No-Man’s Land

The difference between sales success and failure often lies in your persistence and willingness to persevere.

However in a long buying cycle there are times when decisions are not being made on our time table. All of the high hopes on the front end are now in flux.

This is why persistence and perseverance are important for the sales professional. However the middle of the cycle, or ‘no mans land’ often creates doubt and questions. Do you make mid-course corrections, or do you simply stay the course? Do you reduce your time and financial investment and place your valuable time on another prospect?

Stay the course and your sales efforts could lead to success. Exit from ‘no mans land’ and it could lead to failure. The hard part is deciding which direction to take.

Consider this real experience….

Bob sells on a national level for a large medical services supplier. One of his larger prospects has invited him to participate in their RFP process due to his understanding of the industry, his service offering and his ability to build trust throughout the propects organization.

Bob is competing with an incumbent that also matches his attributes and his organization, plus they have tenure with the true decision makers. The purchasing decision will be made by leaders from various levels and positions in the organization. Namely, the coach (CEO), financial buyer (CFO & team), user buyer (operations), technical buyer (clinical team).

Bob and his team has successfully made it through the initial and follow up presentations, plus a series of one on one meetings with members of the buying committee. Each of these strategic steps were critical in being granted a 3 month pilot with three offices across the U.S.

The pilot in each of the offices started out at various levels of enthusiasm which is common in their industry – change and loyalty are often our greatest ally or obstacle. At the end of the second month the committee felt that further testing was in order.

Bob has some concerns with the overall acceptance at office level, however in speaking with the buying team he is receiving positive feedback. That said, the test has been extended yet again which will now cover a five month span.

Bob is in the uncertain middle, or better known as ‘no mans land’. What should Bob do? Stay the course or pull away? What would you do?

Whether Bob stays he course or pulls away, there are 9 guidelines that can help him navigate through ‘no mans land’:

  1. Have the committees priorities shifted? Are you aware, and have you adapted to their new priorities?
  2. Is there anything conflicting going on internally between the committee members?
  3. Did you connect with each of the committee members in the beginning?
  4. Did you connect with the influencers in the pilot offices in the beginning?
  5. Did they define their requirements and expectations, and how progress will be measured?
  6. Is skepticism and pushback beginning to decline at all levels?
  7. Have critical deadlines and objectives been met?
  8. Is the team overall motivated to press forward?
  9. Is it more cost-effective to continue that to pay the cost in withdrawing?

If the answers to the majority of these questions are ‘yes’, then it makes smart business sense to push through ‘no mans land’. As a next step, identify any course corrections that need to take place regarding the committee and office staff. Anything worth doing requires strategic resilience for the final half if your test.

If the majority of the answers are no, then cut your losses and move on.

Let me know your thoughts on this below.

All the best,
Andy

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