It’s easy to get emotionally invested in an opportunity. One of the results of being so deeply engaged in pursuing your dream client is that, because you know just how much value that you can create for them, you get emotionally tied up in winning the opportunity.

Your emotional investment can benefit from a reality check. Just because you want the deal, your client wants the deal, and just because you can create massive value, doesn’t mean that you’re going to win the opportunity on your schedule.

Detaching, Not Quitting

Detaching from an opportunity isn’t quitting. It doesn’t mean that you give up. Instead, it means that you recognize that there are obstacles that accompany the opportunity. It means that you face reality and recognize that your opportunity isn’t going to be won without successfully removing that obstacle. And sometimes, it means you aren’t going to win even if you do everything right.

The obstacle might be budgetary. Maybe there is no money for your project and it’s going to sit on a shelf for some time.

The obstacle may be political. Someone may be opposed to your solution, and they may have their own good reasons for defending the status quo.

The obstacle may be timing. You may not be able to win your opportunity because it simply isn’t going to be put on the implementation calendar right now. Your dream client may have competing priorities, some of which may take precedence over your solution.

Detaching means continuing to work the deal, but it also means putting a healthy distance between you and the deal when it comes to how you invest your time and your energy.

A Healthy Space

Too often we can get so emotionally invested in an opportunity that we neglect to build our pipeline. We neglect our prospecting and our nurturing activities, and we throw ourselves into trying to move an opportunity that a more detached, less emotional view would suggest isn’t going to be won when we need to win it.

The space between you and your dream opportunity doesn’t mean that you neglect the opportunity. You still work the deal. But you also spend time working other deals so that you don’t end up at the end of quarter to find that you have spent all of your time and your energy on an opportunity that isn’t going to be realized any time soon.

There is no greater protection from most sales problems than a full and healthy pipeline of opportunities. And sometimes the greatest danger for a salesperson is becoming so attached a particular opportunity that they take activity on nothing else–only to find that they don’t win the opportunity when they expected to win it.


When should you detach from an opportunity enough to invest your effort in other opportunities?

How do you detach from the opportunity without stopping your relentless pursuit?

If you were being honest, would the pursuit of your big deal dream client really prevent you from having enough time to pursue other opportunities?

Is the most compelling factor driving your opportunity the fact that you really need to close it in order to make your number?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 8, 2011
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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