Taken from “Bart the Daredevil” Simpsons Episode 8, 1990. Homer Simpson attempts to skateboard over Springfield Gorge. For a brief moment he is elated, before falling down the gorge. .

Let me describe a situation I’ve seen countless times throughout my career.

You identify the perfect organisation to sell your product. You reach out to the ideal prospect/s and they are happy to meet with you.

The meeting runs well with good engagement.

You’re feeling confident this opportunity will convert quickly.

A few days later you send a follow up email and call to re-confirm next steps.

Nothing happens. No returned calls. When you finally get a hold of your contact they seem distracted and you don’t know what’s going on.

I call this situation the Valley of Death. You are stuck in a slump. It’s a confusing and frustrating time.

You assumed their enthusiasm would be a linear constant. On the surface it has changed from a positive to a negative without any explanation.

What causes the valley of death? It could be any one of these:

  • The people you met (let’s call them the “sponsors” of your product) discussed the opportunity internally and experienced resistance.
  • They still love your product but the organisation’s priorities have suddenly changed. They intend to implement but there is no longer a rush.
  • The decision process for this organisation is more complex than you realise. You have not engaged with enough stakeholders to give the opportunity a chance.
  • There is no chance of a sale because the organisation is not suited to your product. The first meeting has tricked you into thinking they would one day purchase.

How to overcome these slumps:

  • During the meeting – even when things are going great, keep a cool head! Review any issues that may challenge this opportunity.
  • If you find yourself in the valley of death, encourage openness about where they are at. What has changed since we last met?
  • If you got them to explain their decision process in the previous meeting, ask them to reconfirm and see if anything has changed.
  • If you firmly believe this opportunity is going to succeed, but needs more nurturing, you need to find a way to re-connect. Give them updates on things that attract their interest. It will then be easier to follow up.

By keeping open the lines of communication and trust you will more likely succeed!