Closing the deal means more than just getting a signed contract or collecting the money. It means that you have engaged a buyer in a multi-tiered long-term agreement and the company assumes a certain amount of legal obligation. It means your product will work as advertised, your back office operation is ready to support the product and customer, and that you are ready to scale to meet growing customer demand.
It also means that your customer is now your brand ambassador with a cell phone in their pocket and equal access to the media as well as new prospective customers. And it’s a good time to capture more information about your customer, why they bought your product, and what features they might like to see added. A brief customer satisfaction survey immediately following the close can yield insight into future product or service upgrades.
There are two kinds of deals. Deals, and no deals. Deals that are close to signing are not deals. Deals that won’t sign because the terms are not acceptable are no deals. As an innovation sales professional it’s your job to get the prospect to sign on the dotted line. If you count deals that have not actually closed you are deluding yourself and your company about sales traction. At the same time, if you are unwilling to compromise on feature, price, or some other element you are not doing your job in closing the deal – seldom does a prospect want so much that you can’t compromise just a little more to get the deal done. And especially in the early going that five percent extra you gave back counts little compared to getting the first or second followers to establish credibility in the marketplace.
- Time to Close & The Sales Cycle
- Pricing Strategy
- Terms & Conditions
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Ken Smith, Business Plan Reviewer and Start-up Coach for Springboard Enterprises, served as Co-chair of CEO Service Committee for the MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge; and is the author of the start-up resource guidebook Selling Innovation