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Sales Quiz: Can You Move This Deal Forward?

SCENARIO: You're selling a complex solution to a large organization. It is something that the prospect has never purchased before and will impact multiple groups. You've developed a strong contact (a technical expert) who's willing to help you move the deal forward.

Here are your choices:

  • TACTIC #1: Line Up the Ducks. Working with your contact, use the organization chart showing roles and responsibilities to map out how purchasing decisions get made. Then call upon the various "powers that be" who have official authority to purchase, according to the organizational structure and the defined roles in the buying process.
  • TACTIC #2: Find Another Champion. Use your technical resource to identify a group of closely networked individuals who informally make decisions, especially ones that might be contrary to company policy. Determine the unofficial leader of the network, then work with him or her to develop the opportunity, bring others on board and then close the deal.
  • TACTIC #3: Give a Mass Presentation. Since there are so many people involved, your best bet is to get as many decision-makers as possible into a room. Give a fantastic sales presentation and killer demonstration that hits all the bases and makes it perfectly clear that they need your solution and MUST purchase it as soon as possible.

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The correct answer is: TACTIC #2: Find Another Champion.
The key issue here is that you're selling something that's new to this prospect, so there's no well-defined way to determine how it would be purchased. By definition, it's an exception to corporate policy, so you need to be working with somebody who has the power to change corporate policy.

Your technical contact, while valuable, probably isn't that person. How do I know? The mere fact that he had time to meet with you suggests that he's not a mover/shaker type. However, unless he's completely in the dark, he probably can help you "intuitively" figure out who's got the real power.

With that in mind, TACTIC #1: Line Up the Ducks is going to take a lot of time, and probably end up with a lot of dead-ends. All sorts of people will get involved, but there will be a lack of clarity about "what it all means." Chances are you'll end up with deal that's lost in the confusion.

Same thing with TACTIC #3: Give a Mass Presentation. Chances are that you won't be able to get the right decision-makers in the room, because there's really no reason for them to attend. What will probably happen is that you'll end up giving multiple presentations to multiple groups and not see the deal move forward.

It's really a matter of first things first. Your first action is to find somebody who has the clout not just to make things happen, but to make NEW things happen. Then work with THAT person to line up the ducks and give presentations as necessary.

BTW, the above is based on an interview Ryan Kubacki. president of Holden International, one of the world's top sales training and consulting firm. Very smart guy and a super smart company.

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