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Monday, January 23, 2012

You Just Made the Sale, Now SHUT UP!

Pardon the language, but the title says a lot.  It sometimes takes a very long time to convince a buyer to buy.  This is the case whether the buyer is:

·        someone purchasing a retail product,

·        a possible business transaction like partnering or M&A

·        providing financing in the form of debt or equity

·        or most anything else.

It is so easy to continue to press the point without paying attention to what is taking place.  However, there is benefit in taking time to listen and stopping.  The best way to describe this is by elaborating on a deal that was in progress many years ago.

A company was courting two businesses to gain assistance in evaluating a product.  The company was seeking services and testing on behalf of both entities.  One was a government facility the other was commercial.  After tense discussions with both, the company had decided that it would rather have the commercial entity as a partner.  However, the in house discussions reviewed possibilities of doing business with either.  In the case of the commercial business, the company desired to have a partnership were the commercial business would provide testing and some cash to the company.  As a fallback, the company was willing to pay for testing at the government facility in a different type of deal.  This was the FALLBACK, not the primary desire.  Now that you have an idea of the thinking in the company look at what actually transpired.

The company scheduled a meeting with the commercial business and several of the senior team traveled to attend the meeting.  It was clear there was serious interest from the commercial business and a partnership was in the making.  The meeting to close the transaction lasted for a few hours.  Plans covered the next few year strategy, the funds to be given to the company by the commercial company, and the testing the commercial company would perform at their expense. 

The deal took shape and management was ready to close.  Now for the big finish:

VP:                                                      when do you think we can start the first tests?”

Commercial Company:                     in next few weeks. We will finalize the deal documents first.”

VP:                                                      “can we move it any quicker?”

               Commercial Company:                     maybe, but why?”

VP:                                                      we have lined up a different facility to do the work, if you cannot.”

Commercial Company:                     “You are going to pay someone to do this and we are paying you?”

Well you can guess what happened.  That deal died right there and then.  The whole discussion fell apart and the relationship ended.  It was a good thing the VP asking the questions was traveling back by a different route; otherwise, a different fatality would have occurred.

The point:  Once you make the sale, close and SHUT UP.  Be careful of what you say because you can kill the deal.   Don’t over sell and don’t go into things that are not needed!

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon