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When to Run from a Deal

It’s tough to get a busy consultant to sit still for an interview. But a couple of weeks ago, I managed to get Nelson Hyde of Holden Advisors to do just that. In this in-depth interview, Nelson made clear the importance of really understanding who you’re dealing with and knowing how to deal with them…

How do you know when to walk away from a deal? How do you know when to run? How do you know when it’s worthwhile to stick to your guns and keep fighting—despite the fact that procurement is trying to beat you down?

For nearly an hour, we discussed all of these crucial situations and much more.

Nelson is quick to point out, however, that it’s not enough for individual salespeople to know the tell-tale signs of different buyer types. It’s not enough for individual salespeople to be able to identify a no-win situation. And, it’s not enough for individual salespeople to be able to determine when it’s time to walk—or run—from a deal.

You see, there’s a big difference between what you feel you should do, and what you feel you can do.

According to Nelson, very often the problem isn’t with the salespeople at all—it’s with the systems, incentives, and management environment they’re operating within. For example, an individual salesperson might know exactly when a particular deal is a waste of time and energy, yet feel compelled to pursue it anyway due to management pressures or incentive systems that reward bad deals.

So, by all means, help your salespeople understand the different buyer types and how to deal with each of them effectively. The buyer-type model that Nelson presents is easy to understand, straightforward to operationalize, and extremely powerful.

Just don’t put it all on your salespeople. You have to remember that while your salespeople can learn what they should be doing, it’s the systems, incentives, and management environment you create that gives them the confidence and permission to actually do it.

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