Here’s a secret: closing a multi-million dollar deal is the exact same as closing a four-figure deal. There are contracts, negotiations, uncertainty, that inevitable “oh shit, it’s all going to fall apart” moment, and then boom. Deal done. Case closed. Next.
Working up to a deal with six or seven zeros can seem intimidating, but numbers are numbers. And usually, you do deals with people, not spreadsheets. I’ve closed a lot of deals in my life, lost a lot, and learned invaluable lessons along the way.
1. Understand the product.
Whether your deal revolves around a physical product, a piece of real estate, an idea, or a record deal, you must understand what you’re selling or what you’re being sold. Jumping blind into a deal where you have done no research or know very little about the product is unacceptable and never ends well.
2. Form relationships.
Because deals get done between people, if you’re able, get to know who you’re making a deal with. Have coffee. Have a beer. Talk about something other than business. If you’re entering into a partnership or long-term agreement, it’s a bit like dating. Make sure this is someone you want to spend time with, and if it’s not, do your best to pretend. Perspective is key. Life is full of challenges, and sometimes forging new relationships can be par for the course. Always keep your eye on the prize, especially when challenges in your business relationships arise.
3. Learn how to negotiate.
The art of negotiation is a thing, and you don’t want to get trampled when you make a deal. However, you also don’t want to be the guy who comes off aggressive and unwilling to bend, so hunt out some negotiation pros and harass them for their best tips. One of my favorite books on the art of negotiation? Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.
4. Ask for what you want.
While we all play games to an extent, be a straight shooter. Go in asking for what you want, and then be prepared not to get it. What are the deal breakers for you? What are you not willing to bend on? Go into every deal knowing what you will and won’t do so that you don’t spend any precious time hemming and hawing over a contract.
5. Get the deal done.
At the end of the day, if it’s a good deal, just get it done. If there are just a few nagging issues that don’t affect the bottom line, then refuse to get caught up. If you are playing on the multi-million dollar level, every deal closed is another step toward reaching your ultimate goals.
At the end of the day, when you’re doing a deal, you’re hopefully adding value to a company’s operation (and vice versa). Paying attention to where a company is struggling and positioning yourself as a solution can not only help streamline how you approach every new negotiation, but can help you become a valuable asset in business.
A 20+ year entrepreneur with a no-B.S.-in-business attitude, Shaun Black has powered over $30 million in annual revenue with his trading and importing company, Diamond Produce, founded numerous successful local businesses, and remained on the cutting edge of national start-up industries for over a decade.
His experience as a grocer taught him the importance of exceeding expectations, one relationship at a time. Through systems, automation, and personal touch, his businesses deliver consistent retail-minded service. His “add value” approach to vendor and teams alike has paid dividends and been the driving force behind growth and profit.