With the world’s expectations for being dialed in 24/7, speed and responsiveness are of the essence. Sometimes to get the best outcome, particularly in the heat of a deal, it’s ok to hit a brief pause. This is counter-intuitive to today’s expectations and though seemingly simple, is often overlooked.
Too often, we are consumed by the constant flood of email responses, sales meetings, action items, chats, and texts. Too often are we consumed with the desire to immediately respond to a customer’s request in the best effort to genuinely demonstrate our desire to help and show we can be trusted. I’m not advocating we dismiss all those points. What I am advocating is we set aside time to think and thoroughly map out the options and implications as part of the broader strategy. Frankly, it is not something that comes naturally. Especially given the fast-paced culture and expectation of immediate responses widely accepted and admired. Being deliberate in the willingness to set aside that time can yield a radically different deal outcome.
For example, I think of a deal in France where Revenue Storm was recently serving as the lead deal coach for our customer. The initial negotiations were happening with procurement when we first became involved in the deal. It would have been easy to continue down that path, as it was viewed as close to closing. Signing that deal would secure a renewal for the organization at the same level of revenue performance the organization had recognized in prior years.
But then we decided to hit pause and think options through with the pursuit team to reshape the strategy of the deal.
As a result, the sales team deployed a strategy focused on developing relationships with the CIO, CTO, and VP of the Business Unit. Engaging with these business stakeholders allowed the sales team to gain a better understanding of the customer’s business strategy and drove a more strategic dialogue with the customer yielding an increase in revenue and contract term. The result effectively negotiated an increased commitment from $8M to $11M, with a progressive option to $16M.
This evolution of the deal included additional buying centers, supported by business stakeholders with whom we engaged. The agreement permitted more cost savings if the customer would commit additional strategic opportunities and/or joint go-to-market opportunities. This was good for the sales team and a better deal for the customer! Achieving an outcome where you increase a deal size isn’t going to happen by doing things the same way. It requires attention, focus, a candid discussion about the vulnerabilities of the deal, and willingness to try different things. None of those come without dedicated time to think.
The way in which a salesperson hits the pause button during the heat of the deal can take various forms. One option I strongly advocate is to schedule time with a colleague or coach to discuss just the strategy of the deal… not what resources are needed or the response to a specific customer request. Simply and intentionally schedule time to layout the facts, evidence, and gaps in the deal itself. Be transparent both internally and with your client that you would like to take a broader look at the situation and will come back with clear recommendations and next steps. I’ve never encountered a client not appreciative of a seller’s authenticity to spend more time thinking about their situation and come back with recommendations.
As sellers, we are always thinking about the deal and always driving actions to close. However, utilizing pause intentionally creates an opportunity to step out of the tactical reactions and is a unique opportunity to be leveraged. It has the power to significantly shape the outcome of the deal.
Start small! Block 30 minutes on your calendar this week as “think time” to focus on an opportunity you have in the pipe. If you can, invite a manager or trusted colleague to help ask you questions that focus on the evidence of the deal and get a realistic view of the risks and overall likelihood that it will be won. Even better if you can incorporate a sales tool to help!