How to close the deal by taking it away

by Steli Efti

Archer

It happens all the time in sales.

Just as a deal is on the verge of closing, your prospect will bust out a list of issues, concerns, and questions for the first time:

Buyer: “We need free API integration.”

Desperate Salesperson: “We typically don’t do that, but if you close the deal today, I’ll get our engineering and IT team to make it happen.”

Buyer: “That’s great, but I’m still concerned about the price.”

Desperate Salesperson: “If you close the deal today, I’ll meet you at your price point, or very close to it—let’s do it!”

Buyer: "You’re an early stage start up. We’re concerned you won’t stick around."

Desperate Salesperson: “You’ll receive premium service from us, I’ll personally provide round-the-clock support for you.”

You’re so thirsty to close, you start to make promises that you can’t keep. You make compromises that are bad business. You set unrealistic expectations for the relationship moving forwards.

 

What could have been a great deal turns into a steaming pile of turd. Everything you thought you were doing right is wrong. It’s because you were so obsessed with closing the deal that you forgot what really matters—building a mutually beneficial relationship with your customer that will nurture the growth of both your businesses.

The power of being decisive

It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes you have to step back and take the deal away in order to close—it’s one of the most powerful tools in your sales arsenal. You have to be decisive, and risk the deal to make it happen.

Sales isn’t a zero-sum-game where one party wins at the expense of the other, and being decisive isn’t just some tactic to close the deal. It’s a state of mind that demonstrates expertise in your product and confidence in your business. And this state of mind is ultimately more persuasive to the right buyers than price.

Being decisive means knowing the value of your product. It means knowing when a good deal isn’t a good deal anymore, and where to draw a line in the sand. It means being a good salesperson.

Here’s how to take the deal away to close the deal.

3 ways to take the deal away

Build relationships that will last

Buyer: “I’m concerned about the implementation of the software, API integration, and technical support.”

Decisive Salesperson: “As someone who’s helped hundreds of companies implement this kind of software, I know that we’ll be able to deliver and make you successful. Once you’ve adopted and implemented the software, there will be a whole array of issues, questions and challenges that you’ve never even thought of. We’re ready to go right now, and we can figure details out later.”

Making a deal isn’t about checking off a list of minor issues, because that list keeps growing as your product develops and as your customer’s business grows.

Emphasize to the buyer that by making the deal, he’s not just investing in a product, but a relationship.

The salesperson-client relationship is a two-way street — it requires mutual trust. In order for your product to succeed, you need a buyer who believes you have their best interests at heart.

New customers often forget that you’re taking a leap of faith in them just as much as they are in you. You’re also taking a chance in taking a new customer. Show your prospect that you’re committing to their long-term success beyond just closing the deal. He’ll look up from the fine print, and be all the more likely to take the plunge.

Sell value, not price

Buyer: “We don’t want to pay x price for y users. We’d prefer a different pricing plan.”

Decisive Salesperson: “That’s not going to work for us. The best deal we can offer you is the one already on the table.”

Buyer: “How about z for y users?”

Decisive Salesperson: “That’s not going to work for us. The best deal we can offer you is the one already on the table.”

By refusing to lower the price of your product, you implicitly take a stance on the value of your product that transcends cost.

A buyer who’s sticking point is price will often drop you the first time an Amazon-like competitor offers a similar product at a lower price-point. He's also often the kind of customer who demands 24/7 support, and custom features according to his needs. You have to ask the question: Is this buyer really worth fighting for?

Stop the conversation on price in its tracks, and reframe it into a conversation on value. If the price of your product is $500 and the buyer is asking for $250, communicate to the buyer the thousands of dollars he’ll save by implementing your software. You want to position your product as the premium solution it is — it’s worth far more than the asking price.

Hang up the phone

Buyer: “I still have issues x, y, and z with moving forward with the deal.”

Decisive Salesperson: “I know you have all these concerns. If you’re not ready, I get that and I completely support it, but I’m going to have to focus my time and energy on the next call in ten minutes with a customer who’s ready and willing to move forward. Let’s use these ten minutes to make a decision and move forward.”

After a certain point, talking through a buyer’s concerns will only get you so far. Don’t keep banging your head against a brick wall—bust through it by taking the deal away.

The buyer’s leverage lies in your desire to close the deal—if you demonstrate that you’re willing to let the deal fall through, you turn the tables.

Your time is valuable, and every moment you waste trying to iron out an impossible deal could be spent closing other prospects. Point to the demand for your product, and all the other prospects you have who are ready to move forwards.

By standing your ground, you demonstrate your belief in your product’s success and it’s desirability to others, regardless of whether or not the buyer decides to purchase it. The buyer’s suddenly confronted with the fact that he might not be able to close the deal, altering the dynamics of the interaction.

Desperation undermines the value of your product

It’s good to be hungry. Hustle hard. Fight for the sale. But don’t be desperate.

decisivevsdesperate

At the end of the day, never accept a deal now that you’re not going to be happy with in the future. In doing so, you’ll set yourself on the path of creating a sustainable model of business that will allow you to grow value for yourself, your team, and your product in the years to come.

Taking the deal away is more than just a sales tactic. It’s about the value of the product. Risking a big deal is scary and difficult, but a willingness to do so is the most powerful way to demonstrate your belief in the product. It’s this belief that ultimately closes deals.