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Research your Client Before you Close a Deal

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Research Your Client Before You Close A Deal

Preparation is the key to closing a deal.

There is no point spending all that time and possibly money on building up a relationship with a prospective client only to fall at the last hurdle.

The fact is, when you lose a deal with a client there was probably something you could have done better. Some things can be totally out of your control – you have the same name as their ex-girlfriend, for example – but in reality you could usually have researched the client better in order to be more prepared.

In the chain of events that arranging a client deal requires, the closing of the deal is actually one of the smallest elements, although essentially the most important. It would be crazy to just try and wing the closing of the deal after all the effort of getting to this stage, so here are a few top tips for making sure you have researched your client thoroughly before the sale is complete.

Who Else Has Pitched for the Deal?

This is the first and most important question to ask. You may need to root around all your contacts to find out but the research will definitely be worth it. There have been so many excellent deals lost because people thought the client was only talking to them and they took their foot of the gas.

It is a good idea to assume that your client is talking to your competitors and they will have at least one other company pitching for the contract you are trying to win.

Once you know exactly who else is trying to win the sale, find out everything you can about them – see which areas you can beat them on and where they may be stronger than you.

What Does The Client Actually Need?

It is all too easy to assume that you client is telling you the truth about what they are looking for with the particular sale you are trying to win. Indeed, they probably think they are being totally honest. But the real truth is that there will be additional factors that they may not even be aware of and they can seem ludicrous!

They may be looking for a company that has business interests in other areas that they can tessellate with later on, or be looking for a young team to work with as they feel they are getting a little bit stale in their ideas. This is where getting to know you clients really well can help, as can finding out if you have any mutual friends or colleagues that might be able to give you the inside scoop!

Things You Can’t Control Totally – But You Can Try!!

Bare in mind that clients are humans – they will have their own little foibles just as much as the rest of us. There will be details and situations that will irritate them – some of which you couldn’t possible know and others which you really should know better.

Maybe you support the football team they cannot stand and you flash a bit of ‘football sock’ at the last meeting. Maybe you come in smelling of smoke and it irritates them. Maybe they have just received some personal news and they don’t really concentrate during your pitch.

Try to be the best you can be before closing a deal, research until you are blue in the face and find out as much as you can about the individual people you are pitching you as well as the company itself.

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