Inexperienced salespeople can sometimes get in their own way of closing a deal.
In a now-famous 2010 episode of Futurama, Fry, the protagonist, sees an advertisement on TV for the new "eyePhone," a parody of Apple's iPhone.
It reads, "With the new eyePhone, you can watch, listen, ignore your friends, stalk your ex, download porno on a crowded bus, even check your email while getting hit by a train. All with the new, eyePhone."
Fry runs into an eyePhone store like a smoker desperate for a cigarette. "Are there any left??" he asks the clerk. "There may be one," the clerk responds slyly. He continues, "Okay. It's $500, you have no choice of carrier, the battery can't hold a charge, and the reception isn't very..."
"Shut up and take my money!" Fry cries out.
Fry was sold before he walked into the store. Even though the callow clerk missed the obvious cue ("Are there any left?), and in spite of his satirical anti-sales pitch, Fry insisted, and bought the eyePhone anyway.
While the eyePhone clerk in Futurama got lucky, you'll need to apply some sales savvy to close your deals. When your prospect is ready to buy, stop selling, and let them.
Here are a few of the common deal-killing mistakes that salespeople make when their prospect is ready to buy--and how to avoid them.
1. Continuing to pitch features or benefits.
When your prospect gives you a verbal, you need to stop selling, and close the deal. If you continue to pitch your product or service, it may signal a lack of confidence to your prospect, and could potentially dissuade them from closing.
A better approach: "Great. I'll send you a contract for signature." End of story.
2. Delaying contracts or closing.
Word to wise: strike while the iron is hot. When I get a verbal on a deal, I send the prospect a contract immediately, and ask for a signature. If you don't push to close with a sense of urgency, you risk losing momentum, and with it, your prospect's interest.
Don't rest your laurels on a simple verbal agreement, either. The deal isn't closed until it's signed, so follow-up daily until the contract is executed.
3. Changing key terms--including price.
If you've agreed to a deal, you need to honor the terms discussed with your prospect. Changing contract terms last minute such as scope, resources, assumptions, or cost, is a surefire way to muck up your deal.
And if you think you can change terms without your prospect noticing, you're risking both the deal and your reputation.
In business, your reputation is everything. Have integrity, and protect it at all costs.
4. Adding additional products or services.
I'm all for upselling, but trying to upsell when you're about to close is moronic, especially in the context of a strategic, high value deal. Close your deal first, and worry about upselling later.
Adding additional products or services to a contract late in a negotiation will delay your deal at best, and lose it at worst. It's just not worth it.
5. Over-negotiating the contract.
Any savvy buyer is going to have an attorney review and redline your agreement--but it's not a competition between attorneys. Pick the top three (not ten) points that matter most to you, negotiate them, and accept the rest of your prospect's changes.
While your lawyer's role is to protect you, your company, or your employer, don't forget that they get paid more on a longer negotiation. Kindly instruct your attorney to keep their redline to a minimum in the interest of streamlining your negotiation, and closing the deal.