4 words for you...Be like David Attenborough.
Having inspired millions, there are many things we can learn from David Attenborough even when it comes to securing big sales, surprisingly.
Elephants and whales and other big game are hunted and seen as sort after trophies by the hunter, whereas David Attenborough looks at big game as something not to be hunted or killed, but instead as something that should be supported and helped to thrive. This relies on intelligence, empathy and skill. To achieve a big sale, we need to lose the hunting and harpooning mindset from our sales vernacular and instead focus on supporting the big clients, and the
eco-system surrounding them.
Chasing big deals can be alluring, but before you choose this strategy you need to ensure it is the right strategy for your business. That might seem strange for many, but we all need to understand our own ideal customer, and in many cases the answer may be to stay away from some of the big deals. Big sales may cause too much impact on your company by drawing too much focus from your sales team, too much energy from operations, or loss of margin. Saying no is the best outcome if this is the case.
But if big deals are the right fit, then the first thing to remember is that in our small market, big opportunities may not come around often, so make sure you treat each one with respect. In larger countries you may get away with burning through leads, but not here, so do the work and don’t rush the process.
Tips to closing big deals:
- Do your research. Knowledge is power, and without doubt the more you know about your prospects, their company, their backgrounds, their personal lives, the better. There are countless ways to find out info on companies and individuals through websites, LinkedIn, social channels, companies office, public annual returns, current and past employees, etc.
- Map your process and what you believe the buyer’s process might be. Make sure you leave plenty of time and don’t be afraid to ask how your prospect likes to buy. Understand the potential outcomes or value that you can add by working with this company. Sell on that difference. If you can outline a very clear return on investment, then do so.
- Plan for your meetings. What are the key questions you need to ask? Document them. If you are delivering a proposal, remember that a professional look and design can be the difference between winning and losing. Find a great editor and use them. Remember your proposal, and/or presentation is not about you, it is about your prospect. By all means we need to gain credibility but focus on them and their issues. Anticipate questions that you may be asked, and practice responses.
- Try to uncover the key decision makers and understand what their goals are. CEO's will want to increase revenue, increase EBIT and reduce risk, CFO’s will want to reduce cost, while marketers will want to improve brand and customer experience. On average, for larger deals there may be more than six decision makers. Do you know what your decision makers are looking for? Overall, decision makers want to feel that you understand their issues, that you have the ability to solve their problems, that you are honest and that you have the ability to reduce risk.
- Make a human connection. It is true that people often purchase on emotion and validate their decisions based on logic. If you are building a partnership, no one wants to work with someone they don’t like. Don’t, however, be a sycophant and bow down to every request.
- Be the consultant – solve their issues and remove risk for customers. No one wants to lose their job by choosing to work with you. Qualify early that you can help, and if not, shut it down. If you believe they need a different solution than what they are looking for, make sure you tell them.
- Make sure money is discussed early on. The last thing you want to do is run a long process and then at the end discover you are on different financial spectrums. If you are negotiating, be very clear on what you are happy to give up and what you are not. Be prepared for those demands.
- Always review your wins and your losses. What did you do well and what areas can you advance?
There’s no doubt that securing big deals with the right research can be a game changer for companies but remember David Attenborough’s words of wisdom and look at the big game as something to be supported and nurtured, not hunted with no respect.
Recognise that big sales will take work. Enjoy the ride.