Close that Big Deal ! 4 Steps & 21 Questions

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In my previous blogpost titled Across the 7C’s and beyond – Anybody Can Sell, we talked in brief about closing skills for sales professionals. In that closing skills are most fundamental in any successful sale. 

Deals stuck for over 360 days? Business case isn’t clear? Various personnel in the account have differing agenda? I invited my friend and coach Mark Smith, CEO of BijaCo to share his insights that will make us better sales people in complex sales cycles. Mark has relevant experience that dates back to his time at Hewlett-Packard. Listen here, Learn and practice, practice, practice…



No doubt you’re looking to land bigger deals. Big deals take about as much effort as smaller deals; at least that’s the common belief. The reality is that they take much more time and effort, but the effort for the return is substantially higher than smaller deals. Read on to learn 21 killer sales questions to land big deals and discover exactly how you can close big-ticket sales, fast.


What Do You Mean by Big Deal?

A big deal involves multiple people to make the decision. They are complex sales involving different opinions, multiple influencers, and numerous people signing off on the deal.

In today’s economic environment, more sales are becoming big deals because the approval threshold gets smaller and smaller. While it was true that a C-level executive may have been able to able to approve a $100,000 deal without others’ approval, that seems to be a thing of the past.


Discover Who’s Going to Decide

These changes mean that you need to scout out and round up the decision-making team and ensure that all of them will support your offering. You’ll do this by spending time with your contacts and asking them about the approval process.

Ask powerful qualifying questions like:

  • “What is the process your team uses to purchase something like this?”
  • “Who contributes to the decision-making process?”
  • “Who has the ultimate approval or refusal?”
  • “Who is involved in the approval cycle?”
  • “What’s the approval path look like?”
  • “Who has approved a purchase like this in the past?”
  • “How did they make the decision?”
  • “All things being equal, who do you want to work with?”

Ideally you’ll map out the approval process so that you know which business functions — such as CFO, CEO, engineering, accounting, finance, purchasing, legal — that will be involved in the process.

Now you can research what each approver needs to know so that they can support your solution.


Understand Their Desired Outcome

Next, you’ve got to know what your customer wants to accomplish, so discover the outcome that they wish to achieve. Right now, forget about what they want to buy, focus on what they want to have happen.

Do this by asking high-gain questions, ones that give you lots of insight into their thinking and decision making strategies.

Ask killer sales questions such as:

  • “What are you trying to accomplish?”
  • “What will this look like when it works correctly?”
  • “Who have you used in the past for situations like this?”
  • “What are the three most important things you look for when making a choice like this?”
  • “If you could have things any way you wanted, what would it look like?”
  • “If you could do that, what would it mean to you and your team?”
  • “How do you know who to choose?”

It’s not just about the pains that they want to eliminate. You don’t just need to understand what they want to accomplish, you must explore their dreams and desires. Your competitors can get rid of a customer’s pains, but their dream space is where you create unstoppable competitive differentiation.



Expand Their Vision of What’s Possible

This next step is the real secret to landing big deals.

I learned this strategy early in my career as a director of sales when an underdog solution provider (one of my partners) outgunned the leading vendor by re-educating the customer on what was possible by asking a few pointed questions that uncovered a different and better way of achieving their desired outcome.

If you’re really better than your competition, you’ve got a clear differentiator that your customer values above all others. If you don’t have this, either you need to find it, or you need to create it, or you better be way less expensive, or you need help!

This must be a list of relevant “onlys,” things that you can do that no one else can claim. If they are not relevant, don’t bother. For example, if you have 250 years of combined experience, no one but your company cares. But if you can cut network deployment and management expenses by 25 percent through a unique process, you’ve got something to say.

Educate your customer so that they understand — in no uncertain terms — how you can help them get more of what they really want. You can make their dreams come true. You can deliver more than they thought possible.


Spur Them into Action

Just because they’re impressed doesn’t mean that they’ll take action.

You’ve got to give them a compelling, memorable, and top-of-mind reason why they should take action, now. The most effective motivation comes from them.

Instead of pitching them a limited-time offer — every one in a big deal knows that this is a put on — find out what would cause them to decide right now.

You can do this with killer closing questions such as:

  • What would it cost if you didn’t take action?
  • What is the result if you choose to delay your decision?
  • How much will you save when you implement this?
  • What’s the impact on you and your team if you wait?
  • What would it be worth to move forward?
  • When does this need to be in place?

Help guide them to feeling comfortable, confident, and enthusiastic about what you can do for them and they’ll say yes, fast.

Mark S A Smith nurtures entrepreneurial spirit in companies large and small. He helps his clients efficiently acquire high-potential customers with proven marketing and sales processes. Learn more at and get access to free on-line events at

  • Raveeshu Kumar
    November 22, 2015

    Great article, very relevant to a contemporary sales person…every day life in the world of crowded market , reverse auctions etc

    • Rajesh Rao
      Rajesh Rao
      November 22, 2015

      Thank You Raveeshu. True what worked before is not enough or relevant by itself.

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