Strategies for ‘Too Big to Fail’ Sales Deals


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Every so often a sales deal comes along which is Too Big to Fail. Anybody involved in the world’s second oldest profession will know the feeling. It’s that sale which will the catch up this year’s numbers with the target. Or the one with enough commission to pay off the bank loan. Maybe it’s the deal which will open up a new market.

When that type of deal comes along, the sales guy is in trouble. It’s all too easy to sacrifice principles and strategy, and even process. Why not let the customer dictate terms, just as long as the order gets written. You just cannot lose that deal. It means too much.
It’s worse when the boss decides it’s too big to fail. Because, when it fails, there’s only one person carrying the can. The blame for losing, responsibility for wasted investment in cost of sale, retribution for the disappointment – it’s all going to land on the sales guy entrusted with winning.
Just what is the hardworking sales guy supposed to do?

Adopt a strategy which reduces the risk of failure, and explain it, and explain it and explain it again. Make sure everybody involved understands, and keep doing it. In this case the bid review is the sales reps best friend.

Step 1 – Take the deal out of the forecast
Too Big to Fail deals always skew the pipeline, even in %age weighted probability forecasts. The business relies on accurate forecasts, and its impossible to be accurate with anything that big.
Step 2 – Qualify hard, and keep doing it
Share this with the prospect and everybody back in the office. Focus on the Unknown Unknowns. Look for all the reasons why the deal could go somewhere else, or even go away.
Prospects understand Too Big to Fail Deals. When they understand the selling organisation will qualify out their behaviour improves. They can’t bully a sales guy who won’t stand there and take it.
Step 4 – Have Alternative Wins
Just being involved in a mega deal has advantages. Ability to compete, stories to tell other prospects, market intelligence, driving competitors into bad business – these are all minor wins sales people can put in the bank along the way, and show the boss a return on the investment, even if the deal goes wrong.
That’s the best strategy for the sales professional to avoid the risks of playing in a game they can’t lose. Being prepared to lose, while still winning something to justify the effort.
Perversely, and as usual counter intuitively, the sales person who adopts this strategy will also be more likely to win the deal.
The interaction between buyer and seller moves to a different level. The discussion becomes more about finding ways both parties can achieve their goals. It moves from being a purchase and sale to a business negotiation.
The secret to winning Too Big to Fail sales deals is being prepared to walk away when it doesn’t make sense to stay in the game.
Not unlike poker, knowing when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em, differentiates the professionals from the amateurs.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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