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Welcome to the sixth video in our 8-part series about how to craft the perfect buying process for your clients. Today, we will discuss how you are going to gain approval to obtain final buy-in, either the verbal or an actual handwritten signature on a proposal. You will learn how to convince your client to take that last step that you need to get started.
We are often asked to train somebody who has trouble closing deals. They get all kinds of opportunities. They send proposals out. For whatever reason, they just win a minuscule percentage most of the time. Nobody can figure out why. Usually what we find is not a closing problem, nor is it an issue of gaining approval.
This difficulty occurs when the professionals didn’t do the other three steps well.
- They didn’t get those incremental buy-ins.
- They didn’t create curiosity.
- They didn’t listen to the client’s needs upfront. They heard words in meetings like, “Oh, send me a proposal on that,” and they did it without building everything together. Many times, the process of creating these proposals also wasted dozens or hundreds of hours of people time.
If you have followed the steps that we have already discussed, gaining approval can be easy.
However, two main issues can occur right when you’re at the point of gaining approval.
The first issue is new information that emerges on the client side.
For example, the client can be excited about moving forward and be ready to sign, but maybe they just received an email yesterday that says, “budgets are cut” or “travel budgets are frozen.” Anything can happen.
The introduction of new information means that we have to go back one step to building everything together with the client. We should adjust the goals, the process, the roles, and the money so that it fits a new scope. Let’s assume that the budget has been cut in half. No problem. Let’s figure out what we can do for half the money. Let’s reduce the scope to align with the new budget so that we can move forward.
The second issue is the introduction of new people.
This difficulty occurs more often than the first. Let’s say we worked with the client building everything together and we felt like we had everything buttoned up. They went to get final approval internally, and they found somebody else wanted to weigh in. Sometimes the person from a different department like finance or procurement. Other times, it’s their boss or their boss’s boss.
The addition of a new decision-maker isn’t necessarily a negative event. It just means that someone else within your client’s organization is excited about what we are doing. After the addition of a new person, we usually have to go back to the first step – Listen and Learn. From there, we will shepherd this new decision-maker through the process. We have to ask questions such as:
- What does the new decision-maker need to hear?
- What do they need to share with us so that we can get their unique perspective?
- How do we create curiosity for the solution that we already created?
- What little things do we need to tweak in our Building Everything Together so that their words and their buy-in are incorporated? We usually don’t have to revamp everything. Often, we just need to adjust about 5% of the proposal so that the new person is just as excited about it as the person we have been working with the whole time.
What we often find is that gaining approval is very easy and it is only one of those two obstacles that can slow us down. In those cases, you just go back to the appropriate step and guide people all the way through until everybody is excited. Then, you can get that final signature and begin work with the client.
Now let’s talk about the next segment of this video course because, honestly, it’s probably the most important one. This is where you are most likely to let yourself down. At this point, we have talked in depth about how you are going to lead your clients through a buying process that will get them excited about your services.
Now we are going to turn the lens on you. We are going to discuss what you need to do to hack your habits so that you can stay on top of your entire portfolio of opportunities, always keeping them moving forward without dropping the ball when you become busy.