The Hardest Sale of Your Life
I was in a conversation with a close friend last week about some serious matters when I just stopped everything I was talking about and simply summed it up by noting:
"You know? This is the hardest sale of my life"...
Have you ever been there? Are you there right now?
It's a pretty incredible opportunity to really know that what you are engaged in RIGHT now is the fight of your life.
- Understanding that nothing else you have ever done before compares to the challenge you are facing right now...
- Realizing that when you walk away victorious from this challenge you will have won the biggest battle of your life...
It's a do or die set-up.
A time when the fork in the road is a choice of harder or hardest. There is nothing easy about this -- just a painful uphill struggle.
So what do you do if you find yourself in this opportunity? How do you handle the hardest sale of your life?
- You hold nothing back in your personal effort -- The fight of your life demands the fight of your life. You really have to lay it all on the line: mind, body, and soul. And if there is anything else you have to offer, you need to put that in the game as well. All! Everything! Every ounce of effort goes to winning this cause. (And by the way, don't confuse "almost" with "all". One gets you close to the deal. The other is what helps you close the deal.)
- You don't stop your analysis until you find real meaning -- Things are never as they seem. Winners today can end up the real losers tomorrow. You have to keep digging into the "facts" of the case until you get the answers that no one else has. Here's a DEW favorite: "remember that it's always what it's not - at least the first few times around". That means that the standard answers you are getting from your prospect about timeline and budget are the exact opposite from the actual words that you are hearing.
- You are patient with results and refuse to over-react -- Most sales people are their own worst enemy once they sense that they might not be winning the hardest deal of their life. They transform into irrational, paranoid super-sulky panhandlers asking for the prospect's loose change. They stop thinking like the savvy business ninjas that got them into the game in the first place. You need to remember to be patient with the process. Put in place the "24 Hour Rule" ( i.e. No communication to the client for a full day after you sense bad news from a prospect.) Use that time to find an alternative strategy that shows your care of the client rather than a hand-out attempt to beg for their attention.
- You ask for non-judgmental advice from a guru -- A guru doesn't need to be a world-famous author or the biggest hotshot in your industry. Sometimes that guy is the manager who has been doing this for three decades and has seen a million different deals come and go. Sometimes that guru is just an article written on a blog or your favorite selling magazine. The key is that the advice has to be non-judgmental. You are where you are and asking someone (at this point) how you could have done it "better" is a huge waste of your time and a real "downer". Talk about "next steps" from "right here". Ask for advice and you will likely get some solutions you would not have considered all on your own.
- You take time for physically tasking exercise -- There is nothing that compares to kicking ass in the business world like kicking ass in the gym. It clears your mind and prepares your body for stressful situations. The world-famous Mayo Clinic calls exercise "Meditation in Motion" and that seems to have been my experience running on the open road. You need to be physically and mentally prepared for a potential beating and nothing helps you navigate the madness of your schedule like a regular session of body building. Take 30 minutes and push yourself hard. You'll find new confidence returning just when you need it most.
- You consider the advantages of the "outrageous" -- Sometimes you need to break out the "clown suit" and go for broke -- I am joking 99.5% here. While you don't want to be silly, there is some solid reasoning to asking the hard questions you were afraid to ask during the sales competition -- like "we didn't really have a chance did we?" or "we sure seemed to miss the mark with you guys, didn't we?" or "I'm embarrassed that we were so so self-centered we didn't think more about the value we should have been providing to you." When you get the answers to these questions, you might find yourself with some solid "behind the scenes" information to propose a winning counter-solution. You have nothing to lose, so go for it...
- You reverse roles with your buyer and justify "you" -- Think about how you appear to your prospect. Are you a whiner? A bully? A loudmouth? A hot-shot? A miserable time-wasting, arrogant asshole? Who are you from the buyer's perspective? Consider that.... You can call yourself the superhero of value propositions, but if your prospect doesn't get it, then you have failed - miserably. Think about the words you are using. How would you react if they were being "played" to you? Reverse your roles and see how you look from the other side of the table...
- You manage personal distractions by eliminating them first -- You can't execute a masterful strategy while you have nagging side issues beating you between the temples. Conventional sales books have all made the case for running after distractions after you do your core mission. I totally disagree. That's a horrible process. It doesn't work. Distractions are a part of life. You have to manage these issues FIRST, before they threaten your ability to perform at high levels. Don't half-ass the hardest sale of your life by focusing part of our attention on something else. Get the nasty stuff off your plate - or at least partly solved - and then go kick ass.
- You don't ask if dropping your price will close the deal -- At this point (in the middle of the hardest sale of your life) you are way past grovelling for a rock-bottom price negotiation vantage point. Don't do it. Double the value analysis of your offering. Triple your support offering. But do not cut your price. Customers want the best offer -- not necessary the lowest price. By providing the most VALUE (i.e. explained benefit to the buyer) you become the best offer. And here is a question for you: Does a price drop really ever increase your odds of winning the deal? Doesn't it just make you more frustrated? So don't do it. Force yourself to demonstrate value instead.
- You close the hardest sale of your life -- You face down your demons, put in the effort, and at the end of the day you take a commission to the bank. You close the deal because you want it the most. Because you are willing to ask for help. You wait patiently through the chaos, the client demands, and personal fears. You close the deal.
That's what you do.
You close the hardest sale of your life.
And why? Because that's all there is to do. That's why you are in the game -- to fight, to win...
I certainly don't want to gloss over this idea. There's more to this idea and it's not for everyone. It's certainly one of those topics that is easier to talk about than to actually do.
That's because deep down some of you think that winning is for someone else. That you aren't the one who can win.
But you are mistaken. You are a winner. You were born that way. You can do it. You can win big. You can close the hardest sale of your life.
Call me, I'll help you.