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Sales prospect in crisis.


We once had a prospect that was around 70% through his buying cycle when he had a catastrophe.  One of his software developers had sabotaged their software and then quit.  He told our rep everything would have to be put on hold.  It was a tough situation for our prospect because it was affecting his customers.   While it seemed like the deal was in jeopardy, it really presented us with the opportunity to do good for him…and good for us.

We decided to give him our software with really good terms.  He was already under financial pressure from having consultants on site trying to clear up the mess with his application and the generous terms seemed like it would ease his pain.  He could get good will from his customers and we would still make the sale…and a friend.

This is one of the most artful calls you will make in sales.  You have to be helpful and empathetic, appear not to be self-serving and get the deal done.  Here’s the conversation:

“Hi Ted, I’m calling to see how you are doing after that horrible incident with your developer.”  Pause here and let them tell you the story.  Ask a few sincere questions, and listen.  Do not interrupt.   At the appropriate time say, “I was thinking about your situation and I had an idea.  At this point, wouldn’t it be great if you could offer something to your customers and not have it hit your wallet right away?”  Ted confirms that would be great.  “First, let me say Ted this is not totally unselfish on our part.” (This is statement is crucial because you bring up the elephant in the room which is, what’s in it for you Louie?  You continue; “We want you as a customer but we really want you as a happy customer.  Let’s go ahead and sign you up for our software.  You can then let your customers use it and enjoy its benefits so they are not thinking about how upset they are.  You don’t pay us anything for 90 days while you work everything else out.  You have enough to deal with.” 


Sales Homework – Be prepared for this type of situation.   List three ways a prospect could buy your product even if a catastrophe strikes them.  Terms are not the only way.




Sales Managers
– This is an exercise in creativity.  Collect the responses above and put them in the “backup plan” file.

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