This is a guest post I did for Geoffrey James over at The Sales Machine. The original words were mine, but Geoffrey’s editing skills made it better.
SCENARIO: You’re feeling really good about the deal — the one you’re counting on to make your quota this quarter. Everything seems to be lined up. Your customer contact, Joe, has told you that you should get a verbal order within a few days, and paperwork soon after that. Now, IMAGINE that you just missed a call from Joe, and you’re listening to the voice mail:
“Sorry, but we won’t be placing that order with you, because…”
The voice mail ends before you hear the reason.
Imagine how you feel. You can’t believe it. You’re not getting the deal. Everyone’s depending on it. It’s in the committed forecast. You’re gonna miss quota. You promised your wife a long weekend away to make up for the time you’ve spent working this deal. Not gonna happen. Time for a total meltdown or (best case) some kind of long-shot “Hail Mary” move in a desperate attempt to save the deal.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Remember, the phone call was just imaginary. It was an imaginary reminder that you need to bulletproof even deals that seem like they’re a “sure thing.” Here’s how, in five easy steps:
- STEP #1: Go back to that imaginary phone call. Ask yourself: What reason might Joe have given for canceling the order? Write down that answer.
- STEP #2: Dig a little deeper. Ask yourself: What OTHER reason might Joe have given for canceling the order? Write down that answer, too.
- STEP #3: Dig even deeper. Ask yourself: What REAL reason might Joe have given for canceling the order? Write down that answer, too.
- STEP #4: Now it’s time to get creative. Ask yourself: What I can do — today — to proactively plug those gaps? Brainstorm two actions per gap.
- STEP #5: Take action. You’ve identified three possible weaknesses and six actions that will plug those gaps. Now execute your plan.
Pretty easy, eh?