It seems a long time since the world of selling has been normal. The pandemic’s starts and stops have laid waste to anything routine about sales and in many ways, about life in general. But there’s definitely light now at the end of the tunnel and big deals with major accounts are being pursued and won – deals that could be game-changers for organizations, especially after two years in the COVID Valley. Think about your big deal. You’ve weaved your way through long sales cycles, complicated buyer networks and the vexing world of virtual communication. Your delivery team has built a powerful solution that directly addresses the account’s specific needs and you’ve crafted a compelling value proposition. Over the long months, you’ve invested a ton of time, energy, and of course, money. Then, you get the call. It’s a Friday afternoon and for some odd reason, these calls always seem to come on Fridays. The decision’s been made – you won the deal! You wrap up the call with your soon-to-be new client after expressing your thanks and you set up a meeting for the following Tuesday morning to finalize the contract. As you arrange a quick call with your team to share the good news, you’re overcome with feelings of excitement, anticipation, relief and maybe even a little surprise.
The moment is now. The time to show your professionalism, poise and common sense. With your emotions begging to take control, it’s the time to be smart. While Friday’s Happy Hour looms, it’s time to hold off on barroom celebrations with your team. It’s time to delay issuing those galactic email blasts and boastful announcements in posts on every social platform known to man. Most importantly, it’s the time to share that same guidance with your teammates who will also be looking for an outlet to release the pressure and anxiety of long months of time and effort. They’re ready to celebrate and they certainly deserve to do so. But not now. Not yet. Of course, it’s appropriate to savor the moment and to share some measured internal congratulations, but there should be no popping the champagne corks. Not yet.
Remember – the deal is not done until the deal is done. Viral declarations of victory, while satisfying, are counter-productive and unprofessional. Global broadcasts go to everyone – not only your friends but your competitors, worthy adversaries with whom you battled with in the pursuit. And if these competitors received Friday afternoon calls as well, there’s nothing for you to gain by “boasting and posting”, rubbing their noses in the dirt. And for competitors who may not yet have been informed of the outcome, hearing about it from you is simply inappropriate. If you need a self-serving reason to be professional, consider that every competitor is only a phone call away from being your partner or your client. On another deal or perhaps even on the delivery of this one. Don’t be a jerk.
And your posts are also seen by your organization’s executives, your clients and likely by some of the buyers from your not-quite-yet account. While each of these stakeholder groups has different frames of reference, your objective should be to appear as professional as possible to them all and your actions should show your intentions.
Regarding those soon-to-be clients, the account’s contacts with whom you interacted throughout the pursuit, many are now your LinkedIn connections or following you other across social platforms. And while next Tuesday’s meeting will likely go well in finalizing the contract, you just might be sitting across the table from some individuals you hadn’t met during the pursuit, perhaps representatives from the account’s contracts or legal teams. If they’ve heard that you’ve gone wildly public, boasting of your win, what might that mean? Perhaps nothing but maybe, just maybe, your pronouncements could cost you some leverage and some bargaining power at the table. Why? Because, thanks to your announcements, everyone knows about your big win. Everyone. As such, finalizing a contract term or two may very easily result in some unplanned negotiating. It’s not unusual. The final massaging of contractual terms is very natural prior to having ink hit the dotted line. But with the word of the win being out there for all the world to see, negotiating an item or two might make you feel compelled to surrender a bit of margin here and there to make sure that everything gets wrapped up quickly and without conflict. Maybe all will be well and there will be no issues. But be assured that it will be lurking in the back of your mind at the table. While you’re hoping and praying to get the deal done as fast as possible. And while you’re wishing that you had only held off on those Friday broadcasts.
So, be professional and poised after a win. Act like you’ve been there before and more than anything, be smart. You will never regret it.