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Time Kills All Deals

May 23, 2017


Last Fall, an M&A company was close to selling a health care company to a private equity group. The key parties to the deal kept on dragging out the process. Then, the unexpected happened – Donald Trump won the presidency and the buyer lost the bank funding.


The deal was derailed.

We want to use deal momentum to carry it across the finish line, to the close. When we lose momentum, other projectsget prioritized; our project may never get done.

Time Kills All Deals

A real estate developer had been working on a project for about 3 years. He had $1 million invested, was getting ready to pull the trigger on construction, was required to do another environmental site survey.

Turns out a bald eagle built a nest on the adjoining public lands, since their last survey about 1 year ago. Now there are all kinds of complications, a necessary space setback, a limitation on construction during nesting season.

If they had gone ahead 1 year ago, no eagle’s nest – the project would have moved forward.

Unforeseen circumstances arise to disrupt our deals. We need to keep them on track to closure.

Time Kills All Deals

What is in your pipeline right now? For how long? Have you met all the decision-makers and met their urgent needs, giving them a compelling reason to switch? Have you met the risk avoidance/minimization needs of the decision-makers?

Here are some techniques you might use to eliminate deal drag:

1)     Check for ghosts (hidden emotional issues) – this could include politics. Once there was family business with 56 owners. The 8 operating owners had a different perspective (reinvest) than the non-operating owners (dividends). This led to non-stop conflict. The operating owners bought out the others, thinking now they would be aligned. But there were still ghosts. When they were disagreeing at a board meeting about investing $1 million in equipment, the real issue was: Your aunt insulted my cousin 30 years ago – and they are both dead. These are ghosts. Check for ghosts when a deal is dragging.

2)     Decision-maker bandwidth – can they make the decision? Sometimes, key decision-makers don’t have the bandwidth to make the decision at hand. They may need help. Unless you supply it, the deal won’t get done.

3)     Conflict, difficult conversations. Establish at the beginning of a project that there may be difficult, frank conversations from time to time. This establishes the right of way for you to say: “It’s time to have one of those difficult conversations.”

4)     Absence of project management techniques – like a Gantt chart Ascertain how other parties are managing their part of a project or decision. You may need to help them with a Gantt-like chart.

5)     Procrastinators. Some people won’t make a decision until they are convinced it’s too late to make a decision. You might want to use the Book of the Month Club approach – the negative option. Unless I hear from you by 3 pm tomorrow, here’s what I am going to do.

Some years ago, a DM was hesitating to make a purchase. The salesperson was very wise and said: “you have all the information you need to make a decision. It’s time to make a decision.”

The DM made the decision and it turned out to be a good decision. And this became a rule of thumb in his life and way to help other people make decisions.

I should know. I was the DM who needed a gentle push to go forward.

Don’t hesitate. Time Kills All Deals.


Andy Gole has taught selling skills for 23 years. He started three businesses and has made approximately 4,000 sales calls, selling both B2B and B2C. He invented a selling process, Urgency Based Selling (R), with which he can typically help companies double their closing or conversion ratio.


For an introduction to Urgency Based Selling, please click here:


Andy's website is at


You can reach Andy at

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