Strategies to Revive a “Mostly Dead” Sales Opportunity

An interested and engaged sales prospect has suddenly gone cold.

Your contact won’t speak to you, won’t move further down the funnel, and has become completely inactive. You’re afraid the opportunity might be…DEAD.

Whether you completely lost the opportunity or the person unexpectedly went dark, it doesn’t mean you should give up all hope. There’s a big difference between an opportunity that says no and isn’t a good fit for your company, and one where the timing is slightly wrong or the budget just isn’t there at the moment.

You don’t need to be Miracle Max to bring this opportunity back from the dead. With the right tactics, you can re-engage an opportunity even when all seems lost. Here are the steps you can take to find the right opportunity, revive it, and — finally — close the deal.

How to Spot Revival Candidates

Whether you subscribe to BANT, CHAMP or another sales qualification acronym, you are always looking for specific qualification parameters in every opportunity. What’s the budget? Who’s in charge? What do they need from you? What’s their timeline?

When deciding whether an opportunity is truly dead or just mostly dead, you should re-assess their needs or pain points. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Did the the prospect truly have a need for your product?

If the business need was real and — more importantly — pressing, the prospect is probably a good candidate for revival. The pain point is still there, bothering them every day and affecting their business. You can be the one to solve that problem for them.

2. Did the prospect disappear? Or actually say “No”?

A disappearing act is often the perfect candidate for revival. They may be busy and overwhelmed at work, but remain interested in your product. A hard no is often more difficult to overcome, but could also be a revival candidate in the right circumstances, such as a timing objection.

3. Who has been involved in the process so far?

Have you only been talking with one contact within the company? If so, you may just be speaking with the wrong person. You should go back and work the entire account before you completely give up the deal as lost, but make sure not to go behind your prospect’s back.

4. Who is saying “No”?

Are you hearing “No” from an admin who’s been overwhelmed by other projects? Or did the “No” come from a senior-level contact with buying power? If it’s an admin, it may be the right time to reach out to power and give the deal another shot.

5. Why are they telling you “No”?

Did they say no because of a common objection like timing or budget? Or did they say no because of something more serious such as technological incompatibility or that they’ve signed a deal with your competitor? Many common sales objections can be overcome, with the right strategy.

Only completely give up on an opportunity if you’re told “No” by someone with legitimate authority within the company, or someone who has a strong business reason for why the deal is not going to work. Otherwise, keep going! Your opportunity is only hibernating, and is ripe for another engagement.

Tactics to Revive Dead Opportunities

The worst thing you can do if you’re trying to revive a dead opportunity is simply “reaching out” or “checking in” with a prospect. You need to have a better reason to engage with them than that! If you’re really serious about reviving this opportunity, it’s going to take some effort and more work than a simple email.

1. Try Triggers

It may have been months since you last heard from your “dead” opportunity, but you should always keep an eye out for a real reason to re-engage and reach out. Set up a Google Alert or use a sales tool like Newsle to notify you if anything interesting happens at the prospect’s company. If, for example, they move offices or raise a round of funding, you’ll have an excuse to email them and reconnect.

2. Find a New Contact

If your real problem is that you’ve been engaging with the wrong contact within the organization, reach out to someone new with more power within the organization. This is often the most effective tactic if you’ve been wasting time talking to a NOPO, or you have only one or two contacts within the company. Don’t be afraid to reach out to power to get the results you want.

3. Call at Odd Hours

If you feel as though the prospect is screening your calls, try calling at an unexpected time of day. They may be there early in the morning, or even late at night, and be unprepared for your call. The goal is just to get them on the phone for a minute, and give them a reason to listen to your pitch.

4. Do Something Unexpected

If your dead prospect is completely resistant to email and calls, why not try old-school mail? At this point, people are completely shocked to receive a thoughtful, handwritten note. If the opportunity is really worth the effort, mail them something and then follow up with an email. Putting in this effort may pay off if they’re impressed by your tenacity to win the deal.

Reviving dead opportunities isn’t easy by any means. Prospects that have turned you down or ignored you are difficult to re-engage — but it is possible. By targeting the right opportunities and using the right strategies to revive the opportunity, you can close even deals that seem “mostly dead.”