Each of us has experienced it, we’re struggling winning a deal. It’s an important one for us and for the company, we look for help from our managers and others.
Instead of providing help, the managers sweeps in to save the day. They take the deal away, rescuing it, saving the day!
Whether it’s a “Superman” complex, ego, or simply desperation, this practice is devastating.
Usually, it doesn’t work. No amount of slick salesmanship can save a deal at the last moment, if we’ve made errors in the strategies we’ve executed and the work we have done with the customer. Usually, if you do win the deal, it’s because the manager has given away the store–either in support, other services, or pricing.
But even more devastating is the impact on sales people.
No one learns anything when managers sweep in to rescue deals. Usually, we are in this position because of things we’ve done or not done earlier in the sales process. Managers have a greater impact on deal success by coaching people on their deal strategies early on. Helping them think about what they are doing, what the customer is trying to achieve, developing and executing stronger strategies earlier on.
Sales people learn from this coaching, applying what they’ve learned, not only to the specific deal but to every deal they are working on. Managers have much greater impact building the capabilities of their people in developing and executing stronger deal strategies by coaching and strategizing early on, rather than sweeping in to try to save the day.
But there’s a more devastating impact. Managers rescuing deals take away ownership from the sales person. Not only is it demoralizing to everyone involved in the deal, but it no longer becomes the sales person’s responsibility to win the deal. It becomes the manager’s responsibility.
Over time, as managers seek to rescue deals, they take away the responsibility and the accountability from the sales people. Eventually, the manager becomes responsible for everything and is crushed under the load of all the deals.
The habit of rescuing deals ultimately destroys the morale and capabilities of the organization. The organization, the individuals on the team, and the manager fail!
It’s hard to sit by and watch a deal going south. As leaders, we need to avoid this by getting involved early, coaching and developing strong strategies. But when a deal does go bad, the probability of success by attempting to rescue it at the last moment is very low. Perhaps the better alternative is to work with the sales person to learn from the loss, doing everything possible to improve in future deals.