The Number One Signal That a Deal Won’t Close

The Number One Signal That a Deal Won’t Close

Without a doubt, the backbone of sales is always securing the deal. Whether you are selling a product, a service, or an idea, the sense of achievement when a deal is sealed is indescribable. However, not all deals close successfully. Sometimes, there are notable signals indicating that a deal won’t close. The number one signal that a deal won’t close is the lack of decision-making authority of the individuals involved in the negotiation process. This is something that a seasoned salesperson needs to identify early in the negotiation process to avoid time wastage and frustrations.

Understanding the Decision-Making Authority

The decision-making authority is the individual or group of people who have the final say on whether a deal will close or not. These are the individuals who approve budgets, sign off on contracts, and ultimately, determine if the deal aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. Unfortunately, these decision-makers are not always the ones involved in the initial stages of the negotiation process.

In the world of B2B sales, it is common to negotiate with intermediaries, managers, or representatives who are entrusted with fact-finding and gathering details about a potential deal. While these people play a crucial role in the sales funnel, they may not have the power to make the final decision. Therefore, not having the decision-making authority in the negotiation process is a strong signal that a deal may not close.

Why Decision-Making Authority is Important

Having the decision-maker involved in the deal negotiation process increases the chances of success for several reasons:

Time Management: When dealing with the decision-making authority, in-depth discussions and negotiations likely yield positive results, hence reducing the time it takes to close a deal. Conversely, interacting primarily with intermediaries may result in drawn-out negotiations as information is passed up the chain of command.

Solution Customization: Direct interaction with the decision-making authority often provides invaluable insights into the company’s challenges, preferences, and objectives. These insights can be used to tailor the pitch or the product itself to increase the chances of success.

Overcoming Objections: Lastly, it gives the sales team the opportunity to handle objections directly. As anyone in sales will tell you, overcoming objections is a critical skill, and it’s much easier to do when conversations happen directly with the decision maker.

Identifying the Decision Making Authority Early

Given that the decision-making authority is not always apparent, salespeople need to build a knack for identifying them in the early stages of the negotiation process. One way to go about this is by openly and diplomatically asking who will be involved in the decision-making process. Remember, this should be done tactfully to avoid coming off as disrespectful to the people you are currently working with.

Another strategy is to devote efforts in researching the company’s structure and culture which may provide helpful hints about decision-making processes and authority.


In conclusion, the lack of decision-making authority is a strong signal that a deal won’t close, or at least not as quickly as one might hope. However, by identifying and involving the decision-maker earlier in the negotiations process, you can contradict this signal by managing the sales process more effectively and efficiently. Use your skills, your experience, and the tools at your disposal to make sure you’re negotiating with the right people from the get-go.