How To Win The Big Deal
“To your prospect, you are a traffic light,” says communication coach Cindy Skalicky, arguably America’s top expert in evaluating persuasion effectiveness. “Before you start talking, you represent a blinking red light to them that says risk.”
How do you go from red light to green light? Don’t just know your audience, be your audience. You need to go deeper. You need to get inside their heads and think about how they think, see how they see you. But how?
Skalicky’s company, On Point Communications, has helped company founders raise millions of dollars in venture capital. She has personally trained executives at Microsoft, members of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and entrepreneurs pitching deals to the longest-running angel investor club in the United States on how to win multimillion-dollar deals.
Follow Skalicky’s trademarked HOW-TO Method to land big deals.
“This method puts you into your audience’s mind in a unique, intimate way,” she says. “If you follow this method, you’ll answer every question the audience is asking themselves about you. They may not know, like or trust you at the beginning, but with the HOW-TO Method, you’ll move from red to yellow to green in their mind’s eye.”
Here are the five steps of her HOW-TO Method:
H Is For Hook Me. “Your audience wants to be hooked. It’s your job to interest them and hold that interest. Open with a story that grabs, that makes them lean in, and that starts with words you carefully selected and chiseled to perfection. You can win or lose your audience in the first two sentences. Make them count.”
O Is For Orient Me. “Now, orient them to the problem. To move them to action, they have to care. Most people grossly overlook this section. What is the world like without the product or service you bring? Show them that world. Make them feel smart. Clearly—and simply—‘explain the pain.’ Use strong adjectives and feeling words. They need to sit in the muck with you. You’ve moved them to care, and they’ll proceed with caution.”
W Is For Win Me. “Bring them out of the muck and win them over to your solution. With gradual excitement, communicate your big idea, its benefits, and how it works. If you adequately explained the pain, they’ll get it and understand your solution.”
T Is For Tell Me. “Now they’re smiling, feeling smart. They get it. ‘Tell me more about your traction, customers, product roadmap, leadership team, financials and exit strategy.’ They want to know you’re for real.”
O Is For Offer Me. “Having moved you from red to green, they are ready. They trust you, get the problem you solve, see traction and they want more. Offer them a way to buy, participate, or partner: ‘I’m in. You win.’”
Bottom line: Skalicky says it is 100% your job to take command of the situation and move them from the risk of red, to proceed with caution yellow, to green, or “Yes, I’m in. Let’s do this deal.”