The deal wasn’t closed on the boardroom table at the signing event. The signing is the formality, the ceremony, the codification of an agreement that happened at an earlier time.
The deal wasn’t closed when you got the verbal commitment either. The fact that your prospective client said yes when you asked for the business is proof positive that the deal was closed at some earlier point in time. This ask is important, and it is not a conversation you should avoid. But it isn’t when you won the deal.
Some deals are won during the very first meeting when you establish yourself as the right person with whom your dream client should be doing business. When they have decided they want you on their team, you’ve won.
Deals are also won when you capture your dream client’s mindshare because you are the person who helps them think about their challenges, their opportunities, and what they should do moving into the future.
You win early when your discovery process helps your dream client discover something about themselves and their business. It isn’t the slide deck that wins the deal. It’s you, the person who is helping them think about their business and their choices.
Winning happens when you de-risk the deal by providing your dream clients with the confidence to move forward with the change you are proposing, explaining to them what is likely to go wrong, what you will do about it, and how you will anticipate these challenges. The close happens in some deals when your prospective client decides to make the change you are recommending, and to bring you on as a partner in those outcomes.
It’s a mistake to believe that the deal is closed when you ask for the business and your client signs a contract. That is the end of the process if you’ve done everything right up to that point. But doing everything right up to that point is why you are getting the yes when you ask. If your dream client can say yes when you ask and sign when you give them paper, you won long before either one of those events occurred.
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Filed under: Sales Acumen