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Monday, March 06, 2006
Deal Making

I had the chance to hear a legendary deal maker speak today. The purpose of the discussion was to educate a sales team on how to grow a new business. A few key insights:

1) Big Deal Atmosphere

When you are trying to do big deals (or anything wild that is against the norm), everyone will be against you. The internal team will be against you, the client will have objections, the lawyers will be against you, and finance will be against you. You have to ACCEPT this as a fact of deal making. If you don't, you will wear yourself down worrying/complaining about this. Accept that this is a reality of trying to do something big. I am reminded of a quote from Machiavelli:

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its outcome, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things."

Once you accept this, you can have the resolve to focus on the big picture and keep pushing forward.

2) Openers vs. Closers

There are very few people that can proactively create deals (Openers) and close deals (Closers). The biggest mistake that many organizations make is thinking that their great Closers should be great openers. They are not...it is a different skill set...and you need both. The question then becomes, "How do you incent Openers vs. Closers?". They must be on different incentive plans. But ultimately, you have to measure your Openers on closed deals. The challenge is the time lag between when deals are opened and when the Openers get paid.

3) Win Themes

At the start of any engagement, a value proposition is instilled with the client (typically instilled by the Opener). If this reasonates, it becomes a "Win Theme", which has to stay at the top of your mind throughout the deal. You cannot forget that this is what attracted the client in the first place. The Opener should periodically be reminding the Closer of this (ie "Hey, don't forget the value proposition/win theme that got us here). The Win Theme is what holds the deal together, when things get tough.

Sage advice, even in its simplicity.

posted by Rob @ 5:40 AM  
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