Four Barriers to Closing a Prospect or Organizational Stakeholder & How to Move Past Them

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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successful-culture-1One of the greatest rewards I witness with my clients is to see their revenues grow, and to see them move forward with their missions. We work on so many aspects that directly impact business & personal growth:

  • Time Management (increasing productivity and decreasing busy-ness)
  • Mindset (seeing & believing in one’s own self-worth & value is essential for others to see & believe our value)
  • Our Network (are we investing time with those that can help us move forward)
  • Marketing & Communications Strategy (what is our messaging, does it accurately reflect our brand, and are we communicating it effectively – both online and offline)
  • Sales Strategy (are we communicating with decision makers or influencers, and how are we communicating with them)
  • Organization, Prioritization, & Accountability (are we moving forward as efficiently as possible, and achieving measurable results for the activities that are most important now)

In my experience and continuing education, I’ve learned that there are really only 4 barriers that block us from moving forward with a prospect. Anticipating these barriers, and knowing the strategies to apply when we face them, will directly impact our growth.


Note #1: These assume you are engaging with the decision maker. If you aren’t working with the decision maker, then you’re wasting your time.


Note #2: In my work with executive leaders who are trying to move up their organizational ladder, they also have “customers” to whom they are selling. These barriers also apply within organizations, when an executive is seeking support for key initiatives. Executives that want to move up require an intrapreneurial mindset. All of the bullets above, and barriers below, apply to executives inside an organization.


Barrier #1: We don’t have the money. Money is a priority. Every buyer has money. The question is, how are they allocating it? What is their priority? As the solutions provider, the burden lies upon you to fully understand their pain points, and link those pain points to your solution. It’s your job to explain why they need to invest in you. It’s your job to educate them on why they should move your services to the top of their priority list. This gets back to mindset which is one of the first, and most important aspects of my work with my clients. You must be 100% confident in your abilities to move your clients forward and to make their lives better. If you doubt this, then your client shouldn’t invest in you. It also links back to the messaging work we do, to ensure my clients are positioning themselves as effectively as possible.

Barrier #2: We don’t have the time. Time is a priority. We make time for those things that matter most. Similar to barrier #1, it is your responsibility to demonstrate to your client why you are worth their time. Again, you will require a thorough understanding of your client’s needs, pain points, and goals so that you can inform them on how you are a pivotal part of their solution. I have been working with a client that sells a robust set of engineering/IT products. For the last several months, I’ve been working to shift their mindset from “here are the products we sell” to “here are the problems we solve.” It’s not your client’s job to make the connection between what they need and what you provide. If you want your clients to invest their time (and money) in you, the burden lies on you to demonstrate why they must make you a priority.

Barrier #3: We don’t need you. If your client can’t see the need for your services, they are either not a good prospect, or you haven’t communicated why they need you. You job is to create need. They may not even be aware that they need you. So often, business owners wear blinders that obstruct their views from what’s really happening in their organizations. They think their problems are linked to one aspect of their business, when they are actually linked to something else. How do you get to the root of their real problems? You continuously ask why. “Why do you want this?” For every answer keep asking why, until they reach the real problem. Your value lies between what they want, and what they need. The closer you are to what they really need, the higher of a priority you will be for their time and money.


Or, perhaps you have not differentiated yourself well enough. The goal is not to be the best. The goal is to be the only. Again, this gets back to the need for a positive & confident mindset, supported by compelling messaging that moves your prospect to action.

Barrier #4: We don’t trust you. All business is relationship-based. We buy from people we trust, and it’s your job to build the trust. We buy from people that we believe can really help us, and that have our backs. How do we build trust? We establish ourselves as experts. We communicate our value to the public. We share our intellectual property. We communicate the impact we are making with others. We do what we say we are going to do. We create referral networks with other trusted advisors that can vouch for and refer our services. If you are working with a qualified prospect that you truly believe will benefit from your services, but they are skeptical or hesitant, invest some upfront time to earn their trust. I create many different online & offline strategies for my clients to build both public and client trust, which ultimately leads to more business, because every situation is unique. We work on establishing trust, maintaining trust, and rebuilding trust when it’s been compromised. What are you doing to establish and strengthen public and client trust?

These are the only 4 barriers to closing new business with a qualified prospect, or successfully selling your ideas to your internal stakeholders: money, time, need, and trust. Of course, all businesses must have the fundamental pieces in place before they even connect with prospects: a clear mission, a core value system, strong messaging, a strong revenue/business model that delivers transformational customer value AND generates a healthy profit, and processes to deliver on the promise. Similarly, executives that are moving up must have a full understanding of their organization’s mission, and how their programs will help the organization move the mission forward. Successful Culture works on all of these elements to set up our clients for success.

I would love to help you build your foundation for success, and put strategies in place to overcome these 4 barriers. Whether you are a business owner/CEO looking to move your business to the next level of growth, or an executive looking to propel your career to the next level, we can work together to enable you to reach your greatest leadership potential. You CAN accomplish greatness! Please reach out to me to schedule a 20-minute Skype chat to discuss the greatest barrier holding you back.

Keep growing!

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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.

Ready to move forward? Email us today at [email protected].

Connect with me on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with me during my morning Periscope sessions as well (@marissalevin).

Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.

~Marissa Levin
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”

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