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The ‘do nothing’ - the fiercest competitor you’re not thinking about

  • Jul 12, 2023
  • 3 minutes

If I gave you $10 for every competitor you could name, you’d probably have a pretty healthy wad of cash by the end of the day.

You could probably easily rattle off their pros and cons too. And how you and your team tackle a prospect leaning towards each company.

But what about the ‘do-nothing’, the ‘no decision’ outcome? 


When a prospect has been happily working their way through your funnel and all of a sudden go quiet, don’t take up with one of your competitors or buy with you. They just … stop. 

Are they high on your competitor list?

Competitors come and go in every market, but if there’s one threat you should always be thinking about, it’s the ‘do nothing’.


The 'do-nothing' is your biggest threat

1- It’s easier to do nothing, than do something wrong.

We’ve all been there. Attempted something, put in lots of effort, told people about it…and somehow it’s gone wrong. The negative emotions we feel after failure are heightened by how heavily we invested in its success. It’s that feeling of “I wish I hadn’t even bothered”. Once this has happened to you, in whatever capacity, this feeling will come back to you before you undertake new things. This fear of failure paralyzes people and prospects into inactivity. 


2 - The ‘do nothing’ has unlimited access and appeal

Out of all the competitors vying for the attention of your prospect, ‘do nothing’ has 24/7 access to the entire decision-making team. Its benefits have been felt and understood both throughout their careers and every day of your sales process, because they’re already doing it. It’s attractive (and safe) because it’s already real.


3 - For the most part, we are selling to groups, not individuals. 

Everyone in the decision-making group has different agendas, priorities and pressures which can change over the course of the sales process. But they all need to be convinced of the decision before action is taken. If there isn’t a consensus, nothing happens. You see how hard it is to get to a point of action and conversion now?


Tackling the ‘do-nothing’

Decision-making groups are getting larger and the risk of failed purchases, particularly in B2B, is increasing. So how do we take down the ‘do nothing’?


1 - Effective prospect qualification

Get to know the difference between a prospect’s individual goal versus the wider business priority. There needs to be a sufficient drive towards a destination to prevent the process from coming to a halt, so qualify your prospect and wider decision-making group well.


2 - Managing internal stakeholders

Get on the inside of the decision making team and identify the role of each individual within it.

Spend time on each individual’s priorities and communicate sufficient value and urgency that multiple stakeholders want to be involved. Crucially, don’t be afraid to ask, ‘is there anyone else we should be inviting to the call?”.


3 - The right value, the right person. 

Step back from your primary value messaging and consider whether you have the correct value to communicate to each stakeholder, relevant to their business. Make sure each individual in the decision-making group feels seen, safe and communicated with, based on their priorities and how your product matches them. Then make sure you undertake personalized follow ups with each of them to reiterate the relevant value and information.


4 - Defining the cost of ‘do nothing’

It’s easy for us to say where our business competitors are weak, perhaps in a particular product feature or in terms of their financial cost. So make it clear to your prospect what it is costing them for every day that they do nothing. Lack of progress towards a business goal, loss of data/control/visibility/efficiency - the options are endless. Play into the psychology of loss aversion by making it clear that doing nothing is as good as shooting yourself in the foot. 




The 'do nothing' is the silent assassin you need to stay on top of to keep your business afloat. It's easy, accessible, and already familiar to prospects, causing paralysis in your deals. Tackle it by qualifying prospects well, engaging all stakeholders, and showcasing personalized value. Demonstrate the cost of inaction, and you'll be the superhero your prospects need to defeat the 'do nothing'.


Worried about the ghosts in your pipeline? Get ghost-hunting with our resident expert Shelley Lavery. Here's how to stop ghosts entering your pipeline.


Tom Lavery is the CEO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over 15 years of experience in high-growth VC/PE-backed SaaS companies, Tom was previously SVP at Reward Gateway, now sharing his wealth of knowledge as a speaker in the conversation intelligence space.


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