Sometimes the deal is already dead before we even realize it. At times it’s a function of price, technological fit, deployment time, track record etc. These are all measurable, quantifiable reasons for losing a big deal. Too often though when the deal has died it has nothing to do with a specific quantifiable issue.
I often work with clients, coaching and mentoring them through a large deal. At the end of the sales cycle; and I mean the “bitter end.” I sometimes get the question “What happened?”
“My price was right, we’re superior to the other guys in deployment and technology…why did he stop returning my calls? Why did they go with someone else?”
In several cases recently the answer to “why?” was the would be big deal closer didn’t get it. They got the features, advantages and benefits of their solution. They even identified client needs, pains and specific outcomes desired. What they didn’t get…which was the deal killer…was the person and what approach, type of communication, and behavior was appropriate with the prospect or prospects.
It boils down to “Emotional Intelligence” and presence. Sometimes it’s the little things and sometimes it’s one big mistake. It can be an off color joke, aggressive hand shaking that physically shocks the prospect, excessively loud talking, or crossing boundaries (often not even knowing they were there).
People can get the buying language and think they’re “in”. Their prospect Robert is positive, his head is nodding, he’s asking questions about payment terms. Then the sales person moves into his personal space, puts their hand on his shoulder and calls the prospect Bob. Sounds minor I know, but Bob may feel that the sales person is getting too personal and assuming that the relationship is somewhere it isn’t, he may even feel that he is being closed. Bob then pulls back physically, brings up some great objections to slow the sales person down and then taps on his watch… “Send me a revised quote”, he says…and that was the last of Bob.
Deals crumble when we’re unaware of personality styles, values, and cultural nuances. Be just as detailed with the relationship as you are with the mechanics and details of the deal. The relationship is the deal.
Shane Gibson is President of Knowledge Brokers International Systems Ltd. and author of Closing Bigger the Field Guide to Closing Bigger Deals and High Impact Mentorship – The Transformational Mentor’s Field Guide. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-331-4471