Bigger is not better? No, it’s not. At least not at first. Bigger deals mean more buying team members, more considerations, more complexity and more chances for dissenters or political enemies to throw banana peels and other useful obstacles in front of the deal. So… simple (that’s relative), clean with clear value and outcomes, combined with a smaller group of buyers convinced and passionate about the outcomes is the best chance for initial success. Let’s analyze for a minute.
When you connect with buyers, and they become convinced your solution will help their business improve, there’s a natural tendency to spread the word, to get more teams involved, to build a true ground swell and create a big win. Why? Your buyers are human, and want to be seen as bringing a big, valuable solution to the organization. In short, they want credit for their vision and effort. They want a personal victory. And they see creating a big splash as the quickest path to success.
Your job, as a savvy, seasoned B2B seller is to convince them otherwise. That taking a more limited, phased approach to the project is their surest path to a big win for the organization. I have seen so many deals go south as the buying team expands, more groups get involved, each with their own views, opinions and needs. What so often results is a Tower of Babel situation where no one can agree, and in the end, they do nothing, sticking with the Status Quo.
So how do you slow things down, and convince your champions and buying team to focus on a more limited, smaller win? And how do you do it without throwing cold water on their passion for the project?
Embrace their vision
Let you buyers know you understand “this could go big.” Share the excitement with them. Everyone wants a big win. You do. They do. It would great for their organization—and yours. The only question is how to get there. This is where your guidance and experience weigh in. You do this all the time. They don’t. It’s up to you to persuade and guide them on a successful path.
Share your insight and experience
Share your experience and the risks you see. Let them know about the dangers of getting too many groups involved too early. This kind of talk builds credibility and lets them know the project is about them and their success—not just your commission.
“I want you guys to succeed with this project, and I want to help in every way I can. And, from my experience, the surest way to reach the ultimate goal is to get a quick win—to show some real business results.”
Try not to be negative, or too emphatic, but lay it out there for them in a convincing way. Sometimes the momentum builds and you can’t slow it down. In cases like this you just have to take your chances and do the best you can corralling the different groups and needs. But rest assured, the probability of closing will drop dramatically.
Layout a path to success
Recommend a phased approach you feel would be manageable and provide the focused effort needed to succeed and produce results that will gain attention. Keep it fairly limited. Focus on a group you can manage and get good feedback. Establish some clear objectives and metrics. Buyers love sellers to talk about measuring the project success—because it’s so rare—and it helps them build their case.
Emphasize limited investment
Limiting the initial investment and risks is attractive to most decision makers
Next time you see an opportunity expanding quickly before it closes… cringe. And then take some quick action to contain the wildfire.