What Are the Best Ways to Handle Project Delays?


Every now and then you’re going to encounter a prospect who delays a project.  My experience has shown me that you should tie the advantages of the project to a hot button issue.

Best Ways to Handle Project Delays

Let’s be more specific.  Your prospect works in logistics.  He’s frustrated with his pick and pack accuracy.  His employees are making a lot of mistakes.  When you speak with him, he tells you there is an average of 15 errors a day, each of them costing about $50 to fix.  Doing simple math, he’s losing $750 a day in postage, packaging, labor, materials damaged in transit, return material authorizations, and credit memos.

Now let’s say you connect improved lighting intensity to pick and pack accuracy.  There are studies and anecdotal evidence that better lighting can decrease or eliminate these errors.  So, you share this with your prospect.  He now knows that the longer he waits to do the project, the longer he’s going to suffer the financial impacts of inaccurate order fulfillment. 

This could easily be your path to a close.  One of the smartest ways to get there is to overlap an aspect of what you’re offering with something that emotionally resonates with your prospect.  In this case you could ask him, “How much longer do you want to spend $750 a day in mishandled shipments?”  If he’s smart, he’ll realize that if it’s Friday and he waits until Tuesday, he’ll be down another $3,750.  If he waits another month, he’ll be down $22,500!”

Once your prospect is emotionally resonating with the benefits, he will see how the cost of delay is a pressing issue and that it’s smarter to go for the prize than wait it out.  If you don’t appeal to him in this way, you might as well just be another salesperson who is begging him to sign off on a deal to capture a commission, which is both ridiculous and counterproductive. 

In conclusion, make it about your prospect’s segment-specific benefits.  Make it about what they might lose in the absence of your project.  If you can, break it down into how that loss will grow with time.  Very often, that’s exactly what it takes to get them to emotionally embrace what you’re offering and quit procrastinating.

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Posted by Mark Jewell

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