Q: Sales people are trained in everything from targeting to prospecting to closing, yet in Seal the Deal you talk about closing for the small edge of the wedge and then falling off a log to seal the deal…can you say more about that?
Sure! Glad you asked. The basic point here is that we need not be intimidated or overwhelmed by the need to sell a huge contract on our first meeting with a prospective client. Even if the potential sale is enormous in terms of scope and dollars, there is always the option of closing for a smaller piece of the pie, and then, once we have proven ourselves (our service, our products, our people, etc.) in that client’s experience, we can then expand the sale from within. The terminology I used in the book about the “small edge of the wedge” referred specifically to a model I use called the Bowtie Model.
It is a sales and service model that is shaped like a bowtie. The small edge of the wedge literally is the small edge of the wedge of the service triangle on the bowtie model, but figuratively means to close for a smaller deal than the whole enchilada. So, let’s say you are exploring the options with a prospect and you become aware that your company could provide $80,000 worth of services to meet the needs you hear the prospect describing. But, they don’t know you, haven’t had any experience with your firm, and are not clear about the return on value for them with that sort of a price tag. The small edge of the wedge concept is a win-win. They get to “try you guys out” for a smaller investment, and if you are performing, say, a $5000 service instead, they get to see you in action, you can have a quick win, and then you can leverage that success as well as the relationships you’ve built internally at the client site to expand the sale.
The “falling off a log” idea is that closing, or sealing the deal, needn’t be a huge ordeal or annoying task involving great effort and struggle. It can be as easy as falling off of a log if you’ve cued it up that way. If you’ve made the value proposition clear, if you’ve handled all the moments of truth with exceptional service, if you’ve cued up the sales conversations and achieved depth and breadth in the client organization, and if you have performed exceptionally in whatever small deal you closed, then to seal the major deal, it becomes simply a matter of asking when they’d like to start and then getting the paperwork signed.
Here’s a question to ask yourself. What beliefs or mindsets do I have about these prospects (or about closing in general) that keep me stuck?
If you find you struggle with closing, or can’t seal the big deals, or have a hard time asking for the buy, try the small edge of the wedge approach. It reduces some of that pressure, and gives you and the client an experience of success. Then, onward and upward!