How to Restart a Dead Deal

I first met Derrick when he contacted us by email:


I’m hustling to get a job with a large health business as their Creative Director.
Sent a note to the CEO. Went in with a prize frame. Like gangbusters got a very positive response from both the CEO and the COO within the hour saying they would like to meet with me.

Then, nothing. Radio silence. It’s a bummer because I’ve done my research and I could crush this job.

Any thoughts on how to follow up without conveying neediness?

If this situation hasn’t happened to you … don’t worry, it will. Why? Because as you become better at giving your pitch, you’ll be playing at the highest level of business. And the folks on that level – CEO’s, investors and bankers – are busy. While they get excited about new ideas  quickly,  almost as fast, something new and even more interesting enters their field of view, and they have moved on to the next thing.

Truth is, the CEO of a growing company will pay attention to whatever flashy object is in front of his face.

This behavior is also found in toddlers, where it’s called “object impermanence”,  You can see this part of human nature when a child has reached for an object that is partially hidden, indicating knowledge that the whole object is still there. However, if the object becomes completely hidden, the child makes no attempt to retrieve it. He forgets that it ever existed.

Recognizing  this out-of-sight-out-of-mind part of human nature and breaking it down into such simple terms helped me understand a crucial dealmaking concept: If you receive initial excitement about your deal, but are now being ignored, the deal is not dead. It can be restarted. But you must clearly identify what is causing the problem: you have low status and a weak frame. Not only is your frame weak, you have lost frame control. (A frame is the way your brain mentally packages your power, authority, strength, information, and social status)

Listen to the brief call I had with Derrick, in which I helped him how to use the Moral Authority Frame to restart his dead deal. 

 Below is a copy of the exact email I wrote for Derrick. It’s short and direct, but don’t mistake that for simple (learn how to craft your emails like this here). There’s a lot of sophisticated framing here: 

Susan, John [the company’s CEO] had contacted me on 10/9 about getting together for 15-20minutes, and neither of us did a very good job of locking it down. Probably best to calendar this through you. Can you set up a call next week tuesday or wednesay. I can do a short call mid-morning on either.

And here’s the email I told Derrick to send to their CEO:

John, have been on a large assignment for Chevrolet, sorry I couldn’t meet with you earlier, but am back on the grid now. Let’s do a :15min call early next week, talk about your creative director needs. If it’s not right for me, I can connect you with some strong candidates.

I’ll calendar through your admin,
Regards, Derrick

The following morning: success!


Wanted to give you a quick update. 

Sent off the script you suggested. An hour later, I have an interview scheduled for Tuesday.  I really appreciate it.

Is this kind of framing universally applicable, to be used in all kinds of business/social interactions? I think it is.  If you want to learn more about the framing and the STRONG method, go to and enter your email for videos and to attend our next online event.


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