Don’t assume that getting a top executive on board means that you’ve closed the deal.
Suppose you’re selling software and have just met with a top executive of a mid-sized firm.
You’ve confirmed that they’ve got a need for your solution.
After a detailed discussion, the executive says: “Let’s make this happen.”
Time to celebrate, right? Well, not really.
While you may have convinced one decision-maker that you’ve got the right solution, you are a long way from closing the deal.
In complex sales situations, you have no idea whether a deal is real or not until you have answers to the following questions:
- Who else has a stake in the decision?
- Is there any stakeholder who reviews this decision prior to payment?
- Is there any stakeholder who can veto this decision once it’s been made?
- What needs to happen in order for payment to take place?
- Is a purchase order required and, if so, how does it get generated?
- How has the customer purchased similar offerings in the past?
- What happened and how long did it take to execute on the decision?
- Has budget been allocated and, if not, how does it get allocated?
- Once the decision is finally made, what happens then?
10. Have you studied the body language of other seniors?
In other words, the initial buy-in is usually the opening of the sales process rather than the closing of the deal. Even with the support of a top executive, you’ve still got plenty of work ahead.
Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise