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  • Brett Zalaski

What You Can Close When You Can't Close a Sale


I've told this story in a lot of my sales trainings, but it once took me 18 months to sell one suite. Listen, I'm really happy I sold the suite...but an 18 month sales cycle does not seem like a best practice. But one thing kept happening along the way that made me keep going with it...and that has a lot of similarities to what we're going through right now...


While we weren't closing a sale, we were always closing a next step. The company was a wealth management company in Columbus...and here's what the timeline looked like:

  • Month 1: I met some of their local agents at a networking event.

  • Month 2: They got me in touch with their Columbus office President.

  • Months 3-4: They were a dropped partner of the team, so it took a meeting and a game to regain trust.

  • Months 4-6: We started working on an LGTBQ group night when the Columbus area President was fired.

  • Month 9: After a couple months, the new area President agreed to a meeting. What became clear was that sales was their new big priority...and we had a few meetings across a few months to sell in to their various agents.

  • Month 14: We had the area President to the stadium where he agreed that the opportunity and price point of a suite was a worthy discussion.

  • Month 16: After just missing their CMO a few times over two months in Columbus (he had to sign off), I drove to Cleveland to have that meeting.

  • Month 16: In Cleveland, the CMO bought into the idea of the suite and we finalized a date for him to visit the stadium.

  • Month 18: He visited the stadium along with their entire Columbus team. 48 hours after that meeting they called and said they wanted to do a half suite...not a full suite. I told them that the half suite would not accomplish their objectives.

  • Month 18: They called back 15 minutes later and closed.

Again, 18 months is not a best practice...but always closing the next step is. Right now we are in the unprecedented moment of having, truly, nothing to sell. But that doesn't mean we can't close.


What product interests your client when things get back to normal? What will the next step be once this craziness lifts? You probably aren't closing a ton of sales right now...but you can close a ton of next steps.