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A Sweet Deal Gone Sour

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

Have you ever had to drag a deal through to the negotiation stage only to see it crumble after you leave the organisation?

Or have you been on the receiving end of a deal, served to you on a silver platter, but gone bust the moment you laid your hands on it?

Corporate deals need as much nurturing as newborns. You may call it hot leads gone cold, but they become more than just a prospect when they reach the negotiation stage. They metamorph into hope for your incentive, another feather in your cap, or saving grace. If you have just been pulled up on the deal, taking over from the last Sales Manager, letting the deal go off-track can harm your image (and your appraisal!).

The truth is, despite the blood and sweat of the Salestor, a deal can go sour.

Why does it happen? There are a million reasons, but one particular reason that doesn't receive as much attention is the change of hands.

Be it on your side or the client's, when the people involved move away, changes are bound to occur. But, as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. A deal can go down when the person in charge is pulled away, and someone new joins either party.

It does not mean that the new in-charge is unable to handle the transition. However, change of hands affects the future of the deal because of three significant factors.

The Problem

Just Re-do it: You get comfortable with the working style of someone, and when that person leaves, you have to readjust. New hands on the deck mean you have to re-do many things; learn the background of the deal, understand the people involved and rebuild the rapport. That takes time and effort and can get cumbersome. This could delay the sale or take it off the table.

Handle with Care: People take time to adjust to change, whether it is the way and frequency of communication or just the number of goodies sent by the earlier salesperson to the client's office. That's why any modifications in the staff handling a deal need utmost care.

New Pair of Eyes: New people bring in new perspectives, which could take the deal either way.

It is critical for every Salestor that every deal sees closure and does not come to an abrupt halt in case of a change of hands.

The Solution

Here are some simple yet effective solutions to the problem. Whether you are a new entrant in the battle to the end or are about to leave the scene, one of these measures is bound to help you.

  1. Take Notes: Document every tiny detail, every meeting or dialogue held between the parties, the expectations and deliverables. Companies use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems like Salesforce, Freshworks or Zoho to record every conversation, a discussion held, and deal status. This makes the journey more transparent and all transitions smooth.

  2. Background Check: Learn as much as you can about the new and old people involved. LinkedIn usually emerges as the most powerful tool to know the professional background of a person. Understand all the people involved in the process and how they influence the decision-making process.

  3. It's a Date! If you have just joined as the new in-charge, or have a replacement on the client's side, ensure to meet the decision-maker in person or via an e-meet. The purpose is to get to know them and create an impression that doesn't jeopardise the deal's future.

  4. Good Communication Matters: Use frequent interaction to build rapport and keep the client aware of every step of the way. Use personal meetings, emails, phone calls, or texts to stay in touch if the client is comfortable. If more than one of your teams are involved, plan combined meetings regularly and take the lead. Keep a closer tab on what transpires backstage and how you can keep the reins in your hands.

A deal is the Holy Grail for a Salestor; we live and strive to see them through. So embrace a deal through a transition to ensure changes don't affect them.

When did you face a situation like this? Share your story in comments below.

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