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3 Reasons a Deal Stalls and Dies


Closing sales is as much an art as it is a science. The world’s best salespeople spend countless hours learning the strategies, skills, and tactics behind pushing deals and acquiring clients. We recently had a chance to sit down with one of those high-achieving salespeople: Tony J. Hughes

Tony is a world-renowned, bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and the most read LinkedIn Author on the topic of sales leadership. During our conversation, he gave us some excellent insights into the factors that cause a deal to stall and die.

In this blog, we’ll introduce the three reasons your sale might fail and the strategies you can use to avoid this unwelcome predicament.

Reason 1: A Lack of Commercial Value

Unless you’re lucky enough to get a direct phone line to the CEO, the person you’re working with to close a deal probably isn’t the final decision maker at the company. In any significant sales process, there will come a time when your prospect goes to their CFO or buying center to get them to sign off on the deal.

Unfortunately, the person you’ve been working with isn’t the only one running to the decision-makers for approval. In most cases, the people in charge will have a stack of papers and requests that various company departments want them to support. If the buying center doesn’t understand the urgency and impact of the purchase, there’s a good chance that your deal could be brushed aside to make space for a more pressing matter.

When this happens, there are two questions that you must answer to keep the deal moving:

  • Why is your product essential?


  • How does the product pay for itself?

Why is providing these explanations so crucial, you ask? Because you’re not selling a product – you’re selling an economic impact on your client’s company. In other words, you must illustrate what working with you will do for your customer and how they’ll benefit from their purchase in the future. Implementing new products takes time – companies don’t just buy for the sake of buying. If the product doesn’t make an empirical, explicit change in their revenue, they won’t bother purchasing.

Learn more about creating value in the modern sales world by reading my latest book, Tech-Powered Sales: Achieve Superhuman Sales Skills!

Reason 2: A Lack of Consensus

The second reason that deals stall and die is a lack of consensus among the company departments or decision-makers influencing the sale. Sales reps often focus on the people who they think will say yes while completely avoiding those who will oppose the purchase. Although this seems like a sound sales strategy, your deal can hit turbulence when it comes time to convince the antagonists to sign off on the contract.

Before you start trying to push the deal, you must ensure that your plan has executive support, and the company has the resources and bandwidth to implement it. This means asking your prospects some tactical, discreet questions to test whether they’re a good fit for your product. Once you determine the clients are capable of implementing your product, creating consensus is all about de-risking your deal as much as possible – until buying is just common sense! 

Reason 3: A Lack of Sales Strategy

The third and final reason a deal dies is a lack of strategy on behalf of the sales rep. When you’re selling a product, it’s not just about understanding your offering and pitching it to prospects. You must also have adept knowledge of the buying process and align your strategy with it. 

Sometimes, a sales rep will go through the strenuous process of closing a deal just to have a last-minute, nasty surprise ruin the chances of a successful purchase (like the key decision-maker taking an inconvenient vacation, for example). The reality of sales is that crap happens. The business world is dynamic and complex. External forces that are beyond your control will inevitably impact your sales process.

While you might not have a direct influence on these factors, you can still mitigate the harmful effects they can have on your deal. The best way to accomplish this is to close deals as quickly and efficiently as possible. The longer a deal drags on, the higher the chance of nasty surprises and external factors making it stall and fail. Time kills sales.

There you have it – the three reasons deals stall and die. Learn how to identify and avoid these risk factors, and you’re well on the way to supercharging your sales success!

For more, check out the full conversation that inspired this blog post from the on-demand webinar here.


If you want to learn more sales skills and strategies from the best of the best, check out Tony’s bestselling book collection on Amazon.

About the Author:

Tony is an international keynote speaker, best-selling author, professional selling educator, award-winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of B2B sales leadership. He is co-founder of Sales IQ Global and also ranked by Top Sales Magazine as the most influential person for professional selling in Asia-Pacific.

With 35 years of sales and business leadership experience, Tony is an experienced CEO and company director having served as Director of Sales for public corporations and as the Asia-pacific Managing Director for a number of tier-one global technology companies. He teaches ‘modernized selling’ within the MBA program at the University of Technology, Sydney and has taught for other universities. He serves on a number of advisory boards and his clients include Salesforce, SAP, Docusign, Schneider Electric, New Zealand Government, TAL Life, Zip Water, Findex, BAE Systems, Flight Centre Travel Group, IBM, Qualtrics, Red Hat, Agilyx, NEXTDC, Grant Thornton and UBT with their 4,000 member companies globally.

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