The Prospect Said Yes, Why It Doesn’t Mean Sh*t

I’m sitting in a pipeline meeting and I ask the rep if the deal is going to close. He says, “Yes!”

Great I say, how do you know?  The rep responds with; “The prospect told me. She said they’re gonna go with us.”

Do you know how many times I’ve hear a rep say the prospect said they are in and the deal never closes? Lemme give you a hint, more times than when it does close. Just ’cause a prospect says yes, it doesn’t mean the deal is gonna close.

I have a client that shared this killer saying with me.

The longest distance in sales is the distance between the lips and the pen.

How true is this? Customers and prospects say all the time they want your product or service, but it doesn’t mean they’re gonna buy.

Getting the client to say they want your product or service is only half the battle. Getting them to actually sign the dotted line and buy it, that’s the other half.

As a sales person it’s our job to understand what it’s going to take to move from yes, I want it (the lips) to, I’m buying it (the pen), here’s my signature and money.  There are a lot of steps or hurdles in getting from yes to closing the deal.

To close a deal you need a yes, AND:

  1. all the other stakeholders to agree
  2. budget approval
  3. executive approval
  4. timeline approval, (I want it, but not today)
  5. price approval
  6. T&C’s approved
  7. detractors minimized
  8. competition ousted
  9. and more

There is a long way from yes to close and if you’re not paying attention to that journey, then you’re in for a difficult trip.

How do you measure the trip?

How do you measure the trip?  Just ask!

The minute you’re client says, “Yes, we’re in. We want it.” Simply ask one little question. What do we need to do to close this deal and wrap this up? Then just sit and listen. This question is excellent at helping you measure the trip. You’ll hear everything from;

  • I just need to check on budget
  • I just need to get my bosses approval
  • I just need to run it by IT
  • I just need to run it by HR
  • Can you send the contract so I can get it to legal
  • Can you send the final pricing for approval
  • Nothing, we just need to put in through procurement
  • Nothing, but I’d like to wait until the second quarter, if that’s OK.
  • etc.

Once they’ve answered the question, probe further and ask what’s going to take to get your bosses approval? What it going to take to IT’s support? What’s it going to take to get . . ? That’s were your work is.

Notice everyone of these answers is contingent on something or someone else. You’ve got the yes, but you don’t have the contract. The deal ISN’T closed. There is more work to do. If you want to get to close, you have to be ready for the second half of the sale. To do this is to be extremely clear on what the next steps are, what the landscape looks like and exactly what the buyer is going to need in order to execute on their “yes.”

Too often salespeople think their job is to get the customer to say yes and that couldn’t be anymore inaccurate. The job of salespeople is to close the deal and closing the deal goes far beyond getting a yes.

Thinking the deal is done because the customer or prospect says “yes” is a rookie mistake.  Know better, be prepared for the second part of the sale, your numbers and your close rate depend on it.

Just ’cause the prospect said yes, it doesn’t mean shit.