David Meltzer discusses the tricks and techniques for closing the deal.

Closing the Deal: Where Preparation Meets Belief

The Secret to Closing the Deal

What makes the difference between a consistent closer and someone that is just a great opener? Like business professionals, there are many teams (including my beloved Chargers) who seem to be in every game but fail when it comes to closing the deal. The city of Washington DC seems to suffer most, as for the past 20 years and a combined 68 seasons the Wizards, Redskins, Capitals, and Nationals have all failed to reach a conference championship despite unbelievable regular seasons.

These teams have a razor-thin margin for error and are unable to close on a consistent basis because of it. I believe there are two things that make a difference when it comes to finishing; one is preparation and the other is belief.

Both are essential ingredients for success in business as well as sports. Being prepared to close a deal will always lead to more success than when you are unprepared. Going into a meeting believing that you can come to an agreement is crucial, as doubt only brings more doubt.

Teams Who Close

If you look historically at the teams who have extraordinary records in NBA Game Sevens, like the Celtics and the Lakers, their organizations have a culture of winning. Winning is expected from and by everyone at each level of the organization, no matter what. A team like football’s New England Patriots exemplifies the power of belief instilled in a team. For example, over the course of more than 15 years, they established an 82-game winning streak when holding the lead going into the second half. It is extraordinary to compare the belief displayed by perennial winners in sports and the lack of belief by perennial losers, such as the DC-area teams.

How to get your company to close

The same principles of preparation and belief hold true in business.

According to one study, 23% of startups fail because they don’t have the right team running the business. These teams are unprepared from the start, with leaders unable to inspire the right beliefs.

Another 19% get out-competed in the end and run out of money, which is failure due to lack of proper preparation. Not knowing competitors or being able to correctly estimate burn rates are problems that can be solved with due diligence in most cases.

There is another group of startups, comprising about 13%, who fail because they lose focus. They do not have the right beliefs in place or systems to support those beliefs, and they fall victim in the end.

Preparation or a Combination?

Preparation is key.  Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith said, “For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowd roars. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.”

You must dream and believe, as well as be prepared, in order to achieve consistent success. Too little of each and you will just keep spinning your wheels.

Former Dallas Cowboy Coach Tom Landry said, “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management” which can be applied to both preparation and belief. Having systems in place to support preparation while simultaneously inspiring belief is a recipe for winning.

Confidence and Accomplishment

There are trailing teams who come into the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and say to themselves, “We’ve got this,” like Tom Brady did in last year’s Super Bowl. Reggie Miller had the same attitude in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals when he rattled off an unbelievable 8 points in 9 seconds in the last 18 seconds of the game.  There are also teams with two minutes left that immediately have the belief, “Oh, no. Not again.” and seal their own fates.

Prepare and believe you will overcome whatever lead an opponent may have.  Whatever your belief is, will happen.

Capability to Close

Closing in sports is the same as closing in business. You must be more interested than interesting. You must be prepared to close the deal, understanding its reasons and impacts as well as the capabilities of both parties to execute.  Believe that there is no deal that cannot be closed or that there is no deal too big. With the right amount of preparation and belief, you will close the deal. Belief and preparation make a true winner, no matter what the field.

By: Dave Meltzer

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