Learn how to avoid the last-call letdown and how to walk away from last-minute demands
- George Eliot once said, "It's never too late to be what you might have been." Unfortunately, George Eliot wasn't talking about business deals. Sometimes it is too late. Now you can always rebound in a holistic way. You can always be more successful, but there are times on a specific deal when you have to cut your losses and recognize it's time to go home. So I want to talk to you a little bit about sunk cost. Imagine you spent months working on a deal. You had two trips to the client site.
You pulled together a great presentation. You've invested time and money to close this. Now it looks like the deal is sinking. Should you make another trip? Should you try to revive it? If you're like most salespeople, you'll evaluate how much time and money you've already put in, your sunk costs. If you've already put in a lot of time and money, there's a tendency to want to move the deal forward because you don't want to lose what you've already invested. Sunk costs are one of the primary reasons people make bad decisions.
They pursue something that's not gonna work because their sunk costs blinded them to all of the signs of failure. It's a bad lens for decision making. That results in last call letdown. You know the situation. You're sitting in front of a client and they tell you they're going with the other guy. Your heart sinks, but in reality the signs were there all along, but your attachment to the deal blinded you. Here are some examples, cancelled meetings, no urgency about getting you the information you need, bad body language, positive statements about your competitions, constantly pushing the decision back, asking you to revise your proposal multiple times.
If you're getting those signs, you need to stop. Ask yourself, and ideally ask your buyer, "What's the likelihood of making this deal happen?" Instead of looking at how much you've already invested, lose your attachment. Ask yourself, "What's the best use "of my resources going forward?" Because you see any more time you spend working this deal that probably won't close is time you can't spend working on another deal. So here are three questions to evaluate whether it makes sense for you to invest more resources.
Number one, is it in the client's best interest for this deal to work? Number two, does the client actually want the deal to work? And number three, would this deal be profitable for you? If the answers to these questions is yes, go ahead and schedule another call with the client. Say, "I think this could be win-win for both of us. "How can we move this forward?" But one thing you wanna watch out for is a situation where a client is making last-minute demands. Now this can happen for one of two reasons.
A, they do want to get the deal done. They're just trying to grab for more and see if it's possible. Or B, they're not gonna do the deal at all. They're just trying to use your offer to manipulate your competition. So if a client makes last-minute demands, it's perfectly okay to ask your buyer, "Why are you bringing this to us now?" Their answer will reveal their true intent. If you do walk away, you want to graciously leave the door open. You can say something like, "You know, I've done "the best job I possibly can to demonstrate our value, "and we'd like to work with you.
"If you choose to go with someone else, "that shouldn't preclude us from working together "in the future. "If you want to revisit this or some other project, "I'm always happy to talk to you." Your time is valuable. Don't let sunk costs cause you to overinvest in a deal that's not gonna happen.
- Negotiating with noble purpose
- Three kinds of sales negotiation
- Why deals fall apart
- Spotting and diffusing negotiation traps
- Asking for their boss
- Negotiating via email
- Avoiding renegotiating sales