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Congratulations on making it this far in your sales process. You’ve been engaging with the customer for a while. Because you’ve taken our advice when it comes to pricing and the customer is dutifully about to sign…
Ah, those infamous words: ‘about to sign’
For some reason, deals can stay in the “about to sign” category and just never make it out. Or at least they don’t make it out alive and the deal falls through.
As is so often the case- we can look back at a problem and spot the red flags. Hindsight is 20/20 so all of the potential pit falls seem glaringly obvious. But at the time- everything was just peachy.
It’s best to commit this to memory: some of your deal will have weaknesses.
Great sales people acknowledge this and learn to deal with issue as soon as possible. They spend time doing a premortem. They dissect their sale and try to think of reasons that the sale might not happen.
What is the premortem concept?
The idea of the premortem was first brought to our attention in a Harvard Business Review article by Gary Klein. However, he gave it the more grown-up name of Prospective Hindsight. Essentially Klein reported that when you imagine an event that has already happened, it increases your ability to identify the reasons for future outcomes by 30%.
Ohhh I get it…. wait, what!?
Let me explain in words that don’t get published in the Harvard Business Review.
In a post-mortem we take a look at the body after death and try and figure out what killed it. In a premortem we take a look at deal and try and work out what could kill it. Remove all of the about-to-close endorphins and really question your deal and the possibility around it not happening.
Doing a premortem towards the end of your sales process can help you spot some of the issues that may lead to your deal falling through.
What’s the secret to a successful postmortem?
- Consider your most important prospects and tell yourself- these deal did not happen. Be strict with yourself.
- Ask yourself why.
- List all the reasons this deal fell through.
By listing them all out you can then begin to identify problems that may occur in real life.
- Did I neglect to include the budget holder?
- Did I not clarify something for our customer
- Did I disregard a big event in our customer’s organisation that affected their budget?
- Did I not anticipate my customer going to our competitor?
- Did I not consider the impact of my customer going on paternity leave?
Start finding solutions to these problems and you can begin to solve them before they even occur. This will give you more accuracy around your deals- which your manager will appreciate. It will help you save deals and you will be sure to notice your win rate creeps up.