Really. Is that the best question we can ask? Sure seems like it. I chat with other sales leaders and gurus in our occupation and I hear a term that makes me shudder… Deal Review. Now, I have been around this world for nearly 7 decades, and this term is not new to me. Sadly, it is still used in today’s complex sales environment. The conversation sounds something like this…
The setup… an account rep is in front of a whole gaggle of corporate executives trying to change their “situation”. Often times this is at the end of a month or a quarter and the corporate folks are doing everything they can to squeeze blood from every stone and meet those financial commitments that they made to the street.
The conversation is a seemingly benign one with a simple question… “So, Salesperson X, we see this really large deal that is in your funnel is still not done… what will it take to “CLOSE THE DEAL?”. And this is the same routine that they are going to go through endlessly with each salesperson with a desperate attempt to counter the fact that there actually has not been any real client value created and the possibility of “CLOSING THE DEAL” will come down to deep discounting, extending payment terms, offering a value-added element for FREE, or otherwise giving away the family jewels in desperation. Sadly again, this process seems to be institutionalized by many selling organizations and even the clients know it, so they wait till selling desperation sets in and go for the big money discount payoff. And it works!
Sound familiar? It’s a disease that is almost everywhere. Giving things away out of desperation and in an attempt to cover up the fact that the true value creation job has not been done. Salespeople are used to it. Sales leadership builds it into their DEAL REVIEW process. Corporate management is the worst.. they drive the dialog out of an even bigger desperation perspective and it is all well oiled by individual commission systems that simply do not care about client value, only revenue dollars.
What is an out-of-the-box thinking person to do here? It’s not terribly difficult. We must change our view of serving a client and NOT closing “deals”. We know we still have objectives that are important. We don’t ever get to ignore that. My perspective is that, like “sales”, we are the revenue engine for our corporation. A task that is not taken lightly. Our deeper objective is the continual GROWTH of revenue, at or above corporate gross margins. We don’t discount, and we don’t give things away. Both of those actually erode the client value and commoditize valuable relationships doing much more harm and setting the tone for a relationship that has you seen as a “vendor”, not an asset.
Our role with a client is to co-create value that THEY recognize AND get rewarded for doing it.
Let’s kill the words DEAL REVIEWS. Let’s build a process and a dialog that focuses on the client-recognized VALUE that we have co-created and that THEY have acknowledged. Only by shifting our focus away from the very weak perspective of the DEAL do we open up the total dialog to a much higher plane around CLIENT VALUE. My suggestion is that we rename this entire thing to CLIENT VALUE REVIEWS! Words matter!
DEAL REVIEWS… may you rest in peace!
Long live CLIENT VALUE REVIEWS!
Now, let’s go demonstrate the value of this to all those old souls in our ranks that are still stuck in pre-COVID time. Evangelists are always needed to help those less open to seeing the new light.
OK, LET’s ROLL!