Some opportunities are really zombies. From a distance, they look like they are living, breathing opportunities. But as you get closer, you discover that they aren’t really opportunities at all. They’re already dead.

Mostly these non-opportunities are really targeting or qualification problems. But sometimes we may actually be carrying the virus that creates these zombie opportunities.

Something Less Than Compelling

It’s painful to consider that you may be the reason your non-opportunity isn’t moving forward. But it might be true.

You may have opened the relationships. You may have opened a discussion around your dream client’s business, and you may have found some areas where an improvement is possible. The potential improvement may even be necessary. This was a real opportunity. Then, nothing.

If the opportunity isn’t moving, you may have infected it with something less than a compelling value proposition.

You may have caused the infection with your strong desire to sell product. Your product-focused view of the solution may sound compelling to you, but it may repel your dream client.

You might have caused the infection through a failure to state the value of your solution in monetary terms. Without helping your prospective client to understand the cost in real dollars, you may have turned the lights out on a real, living, breathing opportunity.

If you caused the infection, it might be because you fronted a value proposition that worked for some part of the buying committee, but that didn’t resonate at all with the stakeholders that you ignored or neglected. You may have infected the opportunity by causing stakeholders to become entrenched in the status quo.

You might have caused the infection by failing to gain the commitments you need to advance the opportunity. By allowing too much time to pass, you may have given your dream client proof that there really isn’t any need for them to act with urgency. What was once compelling now brings only shrugging shoulders.

In the worst of all viruses, some salespeople kill opportunities by sharing how they will benefit from the sale. Nothing can turn an opportunity cold and green like a self-oriented salesperson. Compelling doesn’t mean compelling to you, the salesperson.

You may be a carrier. By failing to create a compelling value proposition and a real sense of urgency, you may be killing deals and not even know it.

Inoculate Yourself

Most of the zombie opportunities in our pipelines are simply not qualified. The opportunities that we turned into zombies are mostly made up of a value proposition that isn’t compelling. They don’t provide a great enough reason to act with urgency, and they don’t state the value in terms of what the client stands to gain by acting—or lose by failing to act.

You inoculate yourself from this virus by creating a compelling, urgency-creating value proposition. If you’re not sure your value proposition is compelling enough, test it before you present it. Test it with your peers, and test it with your power sponsors.

Don’t be a carrier. Go and inoculate yourself.


What might you be doing to cause opportunities to stall?

Are your value propositions compelling enough to drive your prospective clients to act?

How do you test your value propositions to ensure that they are meaningful to the stakeholders within your dream client’s company?

What is your biggest deal-stalling mistake?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 26, 2012
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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