I’ll never forget how excited I was to think I closed my first big deal. It was my second week selling, and I left a meeting with a very excited prospect. She said she could really see the value in my service, wanted to get her people started right away, and looked forward to when we would sit down again to talk further.
“Wow, sales isn’t really that hard,” I thought to myself.
When I came back to share the good news with my owner, he smiled and said something to the effect of, “That’s great, Christie. Did you get a contract?”
“No, but she’s going to meet with me again soon to hash all that out,” I confidently said.
“Great, when will you be meeting again?” he asked.
“Probably next week. She’s going to email me,” I answered.
The thing about my owner is that he wasn’t two weeks in, and he knew that this would be my first of many valuable lessons.
She never emailed me. In fact, I spent the next three weeks trying desperately to get ahold of her. She responded once, finally, to tell me that she “hadn’t forgotten about me.” This made me feel better, of course, but I spent the following weeks growing more and more frustrated and worrying that she had, indeed, forgotten about me.
That sale never closed.
But, it taught me a very valuable lesson. First, if someone is ready to close a deal, have a contract ready. You’ll likely find out that there are probably a few things they need to consider, other people they need to talk to, or budgets they need to visit. It was only by seeing for myself that without having a system in place that would help me navigate each step of my selling process, I was truly relying on hope as a strategy. I’ve had plenty of “fails” in my business, if we are counting times I’ve learned a lesson about how to tighten up my process.
The day I closed my first sale, it was because I took careful care to agree upon expectations, guide the process, ask the right questions, and get a clear future at each step. I had to fail first, though, to get that win. It was only through that failure that I was able to learn how to be more effective. I still fail to win, and I’m okay with that.