Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve gone in, nailed your presentation, and the prospect says, “Let me think about it and talk with my team.” You set up an appointment for the next week. That appointment gets cancelled, and then you’re in perennial follow-up mode. Sometimes this lasts a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of months, sometimes it goes on forever.

You can’t really believe that people are taking that long to make a decision. No. Their answer is no, they just don’t have the guts to tell you. Why does this happen? 99.7% of the time, it’s because you missed one of the five prerequisites of a sale.

There are literally only five things that you have to get right to make sure a deal closes.

  1. A Recognized Need

The prospect called you saying that they want someone to come out and take a look at their technology because they’re looking for a new vendor. That’s need enough, right? WRONG! Your job when you go out to a Discovery is to identify as many needs as humanly possible for as many people in the company as you can.  An occasional outage or the current server debacle is not sufficient. Instead, search for those latent needs that they didn’t even know existed so that you’re not meet with the objection, “Well, you solved my current problem, why would we need to sign an ongoing agreement? We’ll just call you when we need help again.”

Here is our strategy. Interview everyone from the top brass down to the administrative assistant to see where they’re struggling, and ensure that some part of your offering meets their unique need.

  1. A Viable Solution

Think of this as the last time you went to buy cable or a streaming service with your entire family. Daughter needs the package that includes the Disney Channel. Son wants MTV. Dad wants ESPN and Fox Sports. Mom wants Lifetime and TLC. Each member of the family has their own unique reason for wanting a particular package, and they really don’t care about anything or anyone else.

That’s exactly how it is for all the people in the room when pitching managed services. Each person in the presentation should have a unique reason that they want to buy. Mary, the Office Manager, is thrilled that you’ll be dealing with vendors saving her 20 hours per week. Bill, the CFO, just wants something that has a clear budget. Nick, the Sales Manager, wants remote connectivity for his salespeople. Design a solution that caters to everyone’s unique needs.

  1. Value Justifies the Cost

We call this the Chevy versus the Cadillac objection. You have an all you can eat, all-inclusive offering, but when push comes to shove does throwing every piece of the offering up on the board impress the customer or start them down the road of “What would the price be if you took that piece out?’

Be careful to only tout things that are relevant to that particular customer. You may offer 24×7 helpdesk as a standard part of your service, but if the office is only open from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, this is of little to no value to them. Instead, say “We offer support during your regular business hours.” If they say, “What happens if someone stays late?” “Oh, we’ll cover that too.” All of a sudden, you’re the good guy, rather than charging them extra for a service they don’t really need.

  1. Sense of Urgency

Why should your customer buy now rather than wait another six months for the next backup failure? We recommend running a dark web scan as part of your Discovery. If you uncover anything, you now have created a sense of urgency. You MUST paint the picture of why they need to buy. Otherwise, they’ll just rest on their laurels.

  1. Authority to Buy

Always ask the question, “How will this decision be made?” Then, insist that everyone involved is in the room for your presentation. If the decision requires a board, you must meet with the board. Don’t rely on their internal person to shimmy your proposal up to the higher-ups with any sort of accuracy. They’re only going to share the price. If you can’t get everyone in the room, or someone is getting pushy, stick to your guns. It does no good to present to non-decision makers unless you’re just practicing.

Nail these five prerequisites, and watch your close ratio rise.  A note about that other .3% of the time when you have met the prerequisites of a sale and the deal still doesn’t close right away> You’ve encountered a legitimate reason for delay. An act of God, family emergency, or some other extenuating circumstance. It happens. It’s just not very likely.