Man, is knowing if a deal will close important to the sales world. It’s the center of every pipeline meeting, every executive conversation at the end of the quarter. Knowing if a deal is going to close is at the center of every opportunity discussion of every sales organization in the world. Unfortunately, despite everyones best intentions, unless you are at the very end of the sales cycle and everything has been completed, this is a fruitless questions, with a very low probability of being answered correctly.
I know we have close probabilities, but in end, it’s still thumb in the air. Trying to understand if a deal is going to close as you are going through the sales process is the wrong way to go about things. You have no idea if a deal will close. But . . . you can know if the next “yes” in the process is going to happen and knowing that let’s you know if you’re closer to the sale or not.
You see, every sale is actually made up of a series of little sales, or yeses as I like to call them. Yeses are the activities, deliverables, agreement or commitments your prospect makes during the sales process. If you need to meet with the CIO to close the deal and you’re working with an IT manager, then you’re next “yes” is getting the IT manager to arrange a meeting with the CIO. If you can’t make that happen, the sale is in trouble. Therefore, the key should be to focus on what it will take to get IT manager to get you in front of the CIO.
Knowing the chances of achieving the next yes are far more predictable and manageable than knowing if the “deal” is going to close. Next yeses are what’s right in front of you. They are what needs to get done now! They are what stands in your way to the close. The key to knowing if a deal is going to close goes through all the little sales that get you to the close. By focusing on what the sale requires now, at this moment, to close is how you put greater predictability into the sales process.
Rather than ask what’s happening in a deal or if it’s going to close, ask what is the next “yes.” Ask what are we trying to get done now and is that going to happen. As you know, we can’t close most deals in a single transaction. Therefore, let’s not treat it that way.
The question shouldn’t be, is the deal going to close, but rather, are we going to get the next yes? Yeses are the most important part of the selling process, and lucky for you, the most predictable.
This is what I what with clients to help them understand how the next “yes”affects the sales cycle and what they can do to maximize deal closure and forecasting.