Monday, March 22, 2010

Do We Have A Deal?

The best deals are not always the easiest to close, even when you have an incredible product to sell. I've put out amazing high quality softwares in my career and I can tell you that any product doesn't sell on its own. One cannot sit on a hot seller and wait things to happen because the nature of business is very clear that an unattended product will simply die. We've all got to work at it. But, you ask, how do you know when you can close a deal?

Some people like to test the waters before jumping in. It's not a bad idea in general but you've got to avoid coming out as a beggar. Nobody likes someone who constantly begs and waits for people to take his or her burden off. Those people are seen as irresponsible and aren't doing any good in business anyway.

Nevertheless, I have found a short clip that actually depicts a situation when it's all right to test the waters first and it won't come off as begging. Donald Trump meets with two executives, one from Walmart and another from the Xbox team at Microsoft.


Jay from Microsoft does some casual business talk and suggests the idea of having a “Donald Trump” limited edition of Microsoft Xbox, in gold colour. Successful businessmen have such light conversations as a token of appreciation and good business, even though they don't mean to follow through an idea. It's just talk.

Donald Trump is obviously a smart businessman and he takes this opportunity to test the waters. “Let's go,” Donald Trump said, “And I only want 10%.

The complex reaction Jay has lasts for barely 2 seconds but would be missed by most people. It however tells everything Donald Trump needs to know. Jay crosses his arms first, with his hands in his armpits. Crossing arms is not always negative but this specific one means that he closed himself from his interlocutor. He suddenly lost his smile and goes on with a gestural retreat by stepping back. He finally puts his hand to cover his mouth, a gesture of fear saying “I don't like what you've just said.

This less-than-2-seconds translates as “<expletive>! What have I just done?!”.

Jay gave away the fact that he does not have the authority to make such deals and may have put himself into serious troubles with his own boss. A deal is far from being closed.

Convincing Jay to bring this deal to his boss would mean hard work. Some could be tempted to move up higher in the chain but not every company enjoy outsiders to do that, and Jay may not as well. For a man like Donald Trump, no problem.

A business owner may have such reaction and it means you've got to work it out to convince this person that the deal is profitable. The best way to do that is to go back to your blackboard and get prepared. There is very little use, if any, to force things out at such moment because the potential client will most certainly win over your arguments and you may even hurt your cause. The conversation should remain casual.

Testing the waters works in this particular situation because the other party came up with the suggestion and it is legitimate to ask for royalties for one's brand name on a limited edition. By increasing the seriousness of the suggestion, from casual to let's do it, it is possible to get an instant feedback.

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