Closing sales deals can be cut and dry, or it can be a major ordeal involving a serious selling strategy. I like to think of the latter as akin to planning for battle—and want to share how I won one of these battles and closed a big deal.
It all began when I met the Director of a major creative company at a networking breakfast in 2012. We kept in touch, so when I accepted a position with a major technology company, I invited him up to our offices to see our offerings.
Shortly after, I met the entire C-suite and found out that they were acquiring new facilities. This was my opportunity to suggest that I could meet their technology needs. Since my contact knew our capabilities, he became my champion and put me in front of his boss and the IT Director, who was the key decision-maker.
I then bonded with the Arts Director and enrolled him as our chief cheerleader. Working together, we developed the map of stakeholders and key issues that guided my selling strategy.
The Selling Strategy
My selling strategy involved gathering common interests from these individuals so I could match our solutions accordingly. These included:
- Utilizing technology to enhance the existing training on the company’s services
- Hosting revenue-generating events that also promoted their vision
- Providing a system that enabled quick and easy sharing of ideas to increase the value of their services to their customers
I discovered that the information gathering stage of the selling strategy is the easy part. The toughest part about “reeling in” a big, complex deal is in the politics.
In the above case, I had to manage differing and constantly changing agendas. For example, shifting decision makers.
When I was first introduced to the key players, I was told that the IT Director had final approval. A few months later everything changed—the IT Director's boss left and the COO became the decision maker.
To further complicate the process, the end user, IT Director, and COO all had different concerns about how the project would be implemented. The IT Director asked for us to provide several rounds of presentations to clarify. I realized that the IT Director’s real issue was a lack of alignment on the team, and his way of dealing with this was to understand the technology in greater detail—but the lack of team clarity still remained.
Selling Strategy Shift
Recognizing the misalignment between the key players was my a-ha moment—and this is when I adjusted my selling strategy.
I called a meeting.
I asked everyone to agree that the outcome of the meeting was to make a decision: to move forward, or not.
This meeting presented an opportunity for clarity for everyone on the team. After getting all the issues on the table and discussing where there were disconnects—we were all on the same page. The COO agreed to sign the paperwork, which included the final scope of work and we got the sign off within 10 days.
This process reminded me the importance of team alignment when closing deals—whether big or small. The key to closing big deals is to be flexible—adjust your selling strategy when necessary, stay aware, keep the conversation open, and resolve disconnects as quickly as possible.
More About the Author:
Laura Sauer is a Senior Account Executive at Toshiba Business Solutions in New York City. She is a master networker and loves helping others.