No matter what you sell there are natural steps, common questions and a normal way of doing things. I often work with clients to help them define what is normal and what is abnormal. I feel it is essential to define and differentiate normal from abnormal because this knowledge will help you to immediately sense deals which are on the verge of turning unfavorable. The earlier you detect it the better as you have more time to think, plan, act strategically and turn the deal in favor of you.

What do I pay attention to if the prospect wants to move through the sales process in a normal vs. abnormal way? Because when something falls outside of the norm my radar detector goes up and starts flashing warning signs. I am not saying everyone has to conform but usually if something is outside the norm then typically you are loosing the deal. That makes me slow down and dig deeper so that I understand what is going on. Fortunately many times you can save yourself from losing the deal if you acknowledge that there is something abnormal with the deal and act in a proactive manner before problems arise.

So what are some common warning signs that you may be losing the deal and what do they signify?

1) They withhold relevant information. Is a sign of manipulation, control or fear of sharing. Typically indicates they may not be ready, they aren’t willing or not able (for many reasons).

2) They want too much information for where they are at in the sales process. Some possible reasons are: they want your knowledge and expertise, they are doing a competitive analysis or they have made up their mind to go a different direction but don’t want to tell you in case they need more free consulting.

3) They want price quote or proposal prematurely. This again indicates they are not serious about doing business with you but will most likely us the information as leverage against their current or preferred provider.

4) They tell you there is an opportunity here but don’t let you develop a relationship. This happens when they have to talk with several companies and only one will get the business. It is hard for them to tell people they like they won’t get the business. So they typically form a relationship with the preferred provider and keep the others at a distance.

5) The deal moves way too slowly. They aren’t willing, ready or able to move forward and don’t want to admit it usually due to embarrassment or changing circumstances.

6) Typical decision makers are not involved. The deal may have been delegated to underlings but 99% of the time is without proper instructions. The other scenario is the people you are interacting with are trying to gather facts and make a business case to the boss but that presentation will typically be without you!

7) You don’t have access to decision makers and influencers. This is a clear sign of keeping you away for a reason. Be aware that if you offer a solution it will most likely be wrong and you only have a 4% chance of winning the business.

8) Your competition has met with the boss but you are blocked from meeting the boss. This shows a strong preference for your competitor and if you don’t find a way to meet the boss or counter the relationship they built you will lose the deal.

9) When they dictate and demand vs. collaborate. Current business practices are for companies to partner with each other. Dictate and demand behavior indicates they are going a direction that doesn’t include you.

Many times we know that these red flags are there but we are too worried or scared to acknowledge them and thus continue on our normal process with our fingers crossed that these flags will disappear. The more you ignore the warning signs and not take the action needed the more deals fall through the cracks. In summary – work proactively instead of reactively. If you have any more warning signs that you are losing a deal I would love to hear them!


Author's Bio: 

Andy Miller is the President of Andy Miller International, Inc. He has a wide knowledge over sales management and continues to spread it by giving training on the areas of landing big deals , landing large accounts and selling to large companies. For more information, visit