How to Rescue Your NOPO Deals

NOPOs, or No Power Prospects, are a sales obstacle that many reps face daily. NOPOs may love your product, and want to buy it, but simply don’t have the power within their organization to make purchasing decisions and close the deal. NOPOs also tend to exaggerate their authority and are notorious time-wasters who can slow down the sales process and even kill a deal outright.

Josiane Feigon coined the term and wrote an interesting guest post for the Salesforce blog about how to identify NOPOs. However, she advises sales reps to immediately drop NOPOs and didn’t offer a strategy for dealing with a NOPO. While we agree that it’s important to correctly identify NOPOs, what Feigon missed is what you can actually DO to turn things around and still close the deal.

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What To Do with a NOPO

Depending on the situation, some bad opportunities can be saved. Once you’ve realized you’re talking to a NOPO, you don’t have to give up completely. Talk to the prospect and try to find out as much as you can about the business from them. Take their information with a grain of salt, of course, since they’re not necessarily as involved with the higher-level business operations as they say. But you may discover that their business problems and specific pain points may still fit your ideal customer profile.

If it really doesn’t seem like a good fit, then it is time to stop wasting your time and move on. But if you decide there is still an opportunity to work with this company, you have a few options. Even if the prospect you’re talking to has no power within the organization, you can come up with a solution to either utilize the NOPO or move past them to attain your goals.

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Turn them Into a Champion

Not every NOPO is truly a waste of your time. Just because you’re talking to a lower-level employee without purchasing power doesn’t mean they have zero influence or pull within the company. It is possible to coach a NOPO and mold them into a sales champion. Champions can fight for your cause within the organization, bringing your product to their supervisor’s attention and pushing for them to take the time to evaluate it.

Sales champions are incredibly valuable because they can clearly and simply articulate the business value of your product to a decision-maker. However, you may need to coach your NOPO in order for them to accomplish it. This means the prospect has to be open and willing to learn, as well as comfortable approaching their superiors with new ideas. Provide them with resources like eBooks, case studies and whatever else they may need to champion your product. Once they have the tools and knowledge they need, cross your fingers and hope their boss is open to considering your product.

Move up the Ladder

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to turn every NOPO into a sales champion. Some people just aren’t willing to learn and lack the business understanding to convey the value of a product to their boss. But NOPOs can still help you get a foot in the door to talk to their supervisor. Though their boss may not look at them as a trusted resource for knowledge of business solutions, you’ll still have a better chance of connecting with the prospect with an internal referral than you would through a cold call.

The toughest part about getting a referral from a NOPO is they may not want to pass you onto their boss. NOPOs often overestimate their own power within the organization, and are loathe to give up the feeling of power they get while talking to a sales rep. However, many NOPOs – because they have no power – are actively seeking to increase their influence and recognition within their company. Use this to make them feel powerful by telling them you need their help to get in touch with their boss. If they loop you into a meeting with a superior, you’re enabling their strategy to gain influence, while also enabling your sale.

NOPOs may be tough to work with, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you find yourself on the phone with a NOPO, don’t give up the deal as lost. Try to learn about their business, convert them into a champion and get a referral to a supervisor. With the right sales tactics, you can recover and close the deal.

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