Closing the big deal. Every salesperson wants to do it, but few pull it off. That’s not because it can’t be done -- but because salespeople haven’t had the right process to follow. Until now.
If closing a seven- or eight-figure deal seems like an impossible feat, then you are in luck.
In a recent TR Talk episode, I spoke with Gabe Larsen, VP of InsideSales Labs. Gabe has 12-plus years of revenue-generating experience and is famous for closing a $10 million deal in Saudi Arabia in his mid-twenties. This article breaks down Gabe’s process for closing big deals in five simple (but not easy!) steps any salesperson can follow.
1) Start Small & Earn the Right to Transform Their Business
Very rarely will you start talking a net-new customer and drive a massive deal like this. It takes a lot of trust and hard work.
Think of it as a three-phase process. First, solve the immediate problem at hand: This means that you are maintaining focus on providing value to the prospect rather than the deal size. Second, establish ROI: Highlight both qualitative and quantitative results. Your persistence to show this should be so clear that their entire company knows how great of a job you’ve done. Third, transform their entire business: Once you’ve established trust and credibility, you can identify the game-changing opportunities.
2) Lean On Your Entire Team
According to Gabe, “anytime you close big deals, it has to be a team effort.” Many former athletes turn to sales to channel their competitive nature once they hang up their jersey. Just like your former football team, selling is a team sport, and everyone has a role in winning the championship. This includes Sales Ops, Marketing, Product, Sales Engineering, and the C-suite. It’s critical your team is on the same page when you meet with the client. As an AE, you are the quarterback of the deal, but if your marketing team doesn’t know which route to run, you’ll never drive the type of results management expects.
3) Always Be the Expert in the Room
If you follow #2, you should have full support from your team. Despite this, you need to stay the expert in the room. This means that, to stick with the football analogy, you are the quarterback who leads your team and the customer in the right direction -- in every meeting, call, and email exchange. Gabe says, “Nobody is going to do it for you. You have to do it yourself.” As an example, he spends three hours every night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. reading and studying to better understand his customers and their world so he can be more consultative.
4) Control Value Perception
Regardless of your prospect’s size, sticker shock is always a concern. Luckily, there are tried-and-true techniques to control the perception. Take Gabe -- he proposed a three-year deal at $3.4 million per year, which is easier to swallow than one $10 million chunk. The value is the same, but the perception is what matters. To nail this piece, understand the company’s logistics as early in the sales process as possible. You need to know how purchases are made, who is the actual “check-signer,” and their preferred billing method, among other details.
5) Have Patience
As Guns N’ Roses would say, “All we need is a little patience.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Gabe’s $10 million deal. In fact, his deal took four-plus years from the inception of the first purchase to the close of the final deal. There will be ups and downs, but staying even keeled will be vital if you want to close.
This includes keeping your support team focused on the long game as well. One helpful tip to maintain focus during the long sales journey is to track incremental wins along the way. Each new milestone gets you one step closer to that final signature on the contract. As an old boss of mine used to say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time.”
The Cheat Sheet
If you’re struggling to close the big deal that you’re working on, you can use the below cheat sheet. Are you following the proper steps or are you taking shortcuts? Have you really “tried everything” or is there a new angle you can find? Test yourself here:
- Start small and earn the right to transform the business
- Treat sales as a team sport and be the “quarterback” of the deal
- Stay the expert in the room at all times
- Control perception when proposing the plan to the client
- Be patient when working the deal and stick to the process
There’s no silver bullet, and every deal is different, but this is a proven approach to closing big deals. Will all your deals suddenly become eight figures? Well, no, probably not. But one great thing about big deals is that you often only need one to turn an average quarter into the best quarter of your career.