This post is about strategies I’ve used to close the deal.
One of the biggest challenges in sales and business development can be inspiring urgency to get a deal done. Just because someone perceives value in your offering, doesn’t mean they’ll make it a priority.
There are a number of tactics I’ve used to push deals through the finish line. Though most of these have been in the context of API partnerships, these strategies can be effective in many situations.
The Press Bait
One way to expedite a conversation is by baiting a prospect with a potential press opportunity. Only do this if you actually plan on doing a press release at some point. Here is an example script that demonstrates more precisely what I mean:
I just wanted to give you the heads up that we’re likely going to do a big press announcement with new marquee partners in April. Our PR team is already working hard to make sure it gets a lot of coverage.
Seeing you guys typically position yourself as a thought leader in the space, it’d be great to formalize our relationship so you guys could be included. I just wanted to make sure this was on your radar.
A press release represents a time-sensitive opportunity to sweeten the deal. Getting a deal done is often about making your internal champion look good. By insinuating that there might be a bunch of positive coverage about your relationship, you can motivate the other site to take action.
Mentioning Competition (Without Being A Tool)
Providing transparency to progress between you and competitive companies can be an effective strategy. The key is to do this without turning someone off. Saying “Hey we just launched with your competitor and it looks really good” does not exactly engender a greater sense of intimacy. Remember, people do things for people they like. So you always want to be trying improve rapport.
One way to go about this is by giving them the heads up “as a friend.” You can ask them if they have time for a 5 minute phone call because you want tell them something important. The context is that their competitor is going to be launching at the end of the month. Contents of the call:
“Hey John – I just wanted to give you a friendly heads up that [Competitor Y] is going to be going live at the end of the month. There should be a lot of press around it. I wanted to make sure you heard it from me and not someone else.”
Insight that competitors are pushing forward can motivate prospects to move. Accomplishing this by “letting them know so they’re not caught offguard” is far better approach than carpet bombing them with the fact you’re working with their competitor.
It’s no secret that creating the perception of scarcity can motivate people to act. It’s easy to create scarcity when there’s limited inventory or price sensitivity. However, for something like an API partnership, its not always obvious how to do this. Two levers you can lean on are resources and access.
Resources – This really comes down to manipulating the support variable. The best relationships come with the most amount of support/help. Hinting that this might not be available in the future can expedite a deal. An example dialogue you can inject:
“Yeah, our product team is going to be focusing on a new [feature] starting next month, so they won’t have the bandwidth to help onboard new partners starting in March.”
“Our account managers are swamped, so they won’t be able to do a proper set-up and training for a couple of months starting in March.”
You’re still relying on the notion of limited inventory, but the product is the human capital that makes the partnership optimal.
Access – Leveraging access is about creating scarcity around an inventory that’s not yet available. The idea is that only a certain sub-set will get to take advantage of something. To lever access, you want to allude that the only way for potential partners to get access to something is by formalizing the relationship:
“We’re pretty excited about this new feature of the API. For the first 6 months, we’re likely only going to provide access to existing partners. It’d be great to get this done so you can take advantage of it.”
It’s important to understand that scarcity is not limited to product inventory. Understand your levers so that use them to your advantage in order to get things done.
Give Them Ammo
Getting a deal done is often about successfully arming someone to sell into their organization. Ideally, you always want to maintain ball control and be the one selling, but sometimes this just isn’t possible.
What this means is that you should always be looking to supply your point of contact with ammunition that supports that doing a deal with you is important. Case studies, industry reports, and public testimonials are all examples of ammunition you should be consistently feeding the other side.
Again, don’t do this in an obnoxious way that will turn them off. You always want to be positioning the delivery by “just wanting to make sure this is on your radar.”
Someone recently just called me “patiently persistent.” I loved that. I think it’s a good mindset to aim for. You always want to be pushing, but not to the extent that someone starts to dislike you or find you annoying.
A Warm Handshake
Sometimes the hesitancy to do a deal has to do with comfort. You can alleviate this by meeting face to face. Getting in front of someone not only demonstrates your commitment to the relationship, but also gives you the opportunity to engender intimacy so they do something for you. Nothing ever replaces face time.
There’s a variety of ways to broach a face to face meeting without being obtrusive, but I’ll save a more detailed explanation for another time like my newsletter that comes out next week.
Back Scratching to Close the Deal
Sometimes to close the deal you need to step out of the box and accommodate someone’s personal incentives. This typically happens when your offering isn’t the most important thing, but you have the ability to help them accomplish something else that has a higher priority level.
“I can help you out and get this done, if you can help me out with Y”
It’s that simple. Situations like this are why so much of sales is about data collection. If all you do is pitch, without ever really understanding what your prospect’s true pain points are, you’ll never be privy to these alternative routes to get a deal done. Become a “problem finder” by asking the right questions.
I’ve been able to close the deal and get things done by calling on these specific techniques. What types of strategies have worked for you? Please share in the comments. Also if you know any other quality articles on closing techniques would love if you shared those as well.
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