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5 Tools to Open Bigger Deals in Life Science




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by Mary-Rose Hoja in EPE, Sales

We talk all the time about how people struggle to close deals in life science, but the other end of that spectrum is actually how to OPEN the sales process.

A lot of people make this much harder than it needs to be. You need very few tools and tactics to open big deals. A lot of it requires patience – respecting the need for qualification and disqualification on both sides – both from your side as a high-level advisor and strategic partner, and from your prospects’ side. 

You are not for everyone, and you want this to be long-term –  not a one-hit wonder. If you play your cards right, you will basically co-create big deals. This is way cooler and more lucrative than being desperate and just trying to close any deal.

Prefer a video version of this post? We’ve got you covered!

Much of what I’m going to share with you today centres around scripts and dialogues. Everyone asks for scripts. And really they are supremely effective tools for your toolbox. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Drop the ones that aren’t working, and keep practicing those that are effective!

Here are 5 really concrete tactics to open bigger deals in life science. You’ll see that this is moving in angles, and being very strategic.  You want to get a bigger picture than any one immediate deal at face value, and to gather business intelligence.

  1. Ask the question – “And what else is going on?”

Ask it over and over, and keep digging deeper. Before you even begin talking about your offer, open up a reconnecting discussion or a value discussion with a prospect or an influencer. You need insight into what is really going on in their world. This could be personal, professional, or private. As you move through a sales discussion, you will be able to get to the nitty gritty, private, emotional, and tender parts. Therein often lies the real problem.

The real golden nuggets come when you start broaching the personal and private. Keep asking questions, keep drilling down deeper and deeper. As the conversation goes on, you will really uncover which problem is really at the crux of the issue. You are looking for the ultimate destination of the person, team, and organisation. What do they really want? What are the true drivers that cause the fire in the eyes? Where is their shoe rubbing? Where is friction? Where is the source of stress? 

  1. Find out “Why now”? 

Why are they looking to buy right now? Why are they talking to you? Why are they developing whatever it is in the business right now? Leadership shift? Merger or acquisition? Going bankrupt? This gives you a great idea of what’s really going on. Are they trying to stay afloat? Are they going for growth? Are they trying to get equity? Stop from being fired? What? Why now? 

  1. Look at the opposite – “What happens if you don’t fix this?” 

Look for frameworks you can put around this. Look for the nightmare scenario. This is another version of how important this is. If they don’t think it’s important, it’s not an urgent fix and any kind of bigger deal is not going to be make or break for them. 

In the Expert Profit Engine method, you approach this like a doctor.  Impassive yet serious, concerned, and routined. You are looking for serious, expensive, pervasive problems – like a cancer if you like, that they are ignoring or settling with. You are not looking to be their friend, you are looking for the ultimate consequence of living with this problem a moment longer. You need this to know what to do next.

Bigger deals in my world mean strategic decisions that are going to make the company more profitable or lead to growth. They will be willing to invest in their “cure” when they perceive and have committed to it’s a “need to have” instead of a “nice to have”. Look for micro-commitments. That is the path you take. You will see that you have a framework, and it is agile. You are leading them to illumination – for them and for you – if this is a MUTUAL fit. 

  1. Identify the leader in the room.

Now to beyond what comes out of the mouth. You will see that this is about reading people. The eyes are a phenomenal window to fire, urgency, boredom, and irrelevance. Beyond the eyes is where people choose to sit in physical meetings, and how they look at each other. This is so critical because even if your connection is the CEO, you need to make sure that they are the person in the room who can actually close the deal. And you can tell this by where they sit, how they look at each other, how they hold their fingers. These are microtells, like in poker. People can’t help revealing how they really feel when they feel contempt, impatience, excitement, or nervousness. And situations where you have a boss who is not the leader is a brilliant crack in the armour to penetrate and probe. 

Looping this back. A lot of what you will be doing is change. New supplier, new owner, new market, new iPads instead of laptops. If you’re looking at a change situation, like bringing a business from non-growth to growth, red to black, small profit margin to large profit margin, a cultural change, etc., these are all leadership issues. You need to be talking to the leader who can make the decision to bring you on board. Yes, that means a big deal. 

This is key for both in-person and online meetings. I do recommend some live meetings when possible, as there is no replacing live meetings for really practicing how you read people and understand the group dynamics and psychology surrounding this.

I know we are talking about opening here – and the phone is the easiest tool for opening if you don’t book a video call. But for actually closing, I recommend not using the phone. I recommended putting you and your prospect where you have a visual and see face eyes, hands, how they sit, and background. Close via Zoom or live in the room. 

  1. Never send a proposal

Before presenting your price and broaching sales talk, always have a value discussion first. If you send a proposal by email, you’re handing over control of your own sales process to someone else. Never do that. Think about it – when you get an email with a quote – what’s the first thing you do? Your eyes go straight to price. 

You never do that. You always present price on the back of value. Always attach your price as a psychological investment in their mind. This is also an active disqualification tactic for you – you must never place yourself in the position of being “lower than them”, “we’ll let you know” kind of thing. You need to make sure this is a mutual decision. 

You don’t want to be in a situation where you are sending them a proposal and letting them decide on their own. A lot of this has to do with their perception of your status and your perception of your status. On the phone, over Zoom, or at a meeting, start solving their problem immediately. When they are already on their way to a cure, when you’re leading them out of pain and into a better vision and destination – here is where you present you offer, and open up for a bigger deal.

Bonus: Speak as if you’re already working together. 

Use phrases like, “When we are working together”, or “When we are doing this”. 

Never say “if”. Always “when”. Always speak in the present tense. 

Always say “we” –  no “I”, or “me”. It shows that you’re working together in a partnership, and this psychologically removes their headache and makes them feel calm.

If this resonates with you, I am happy to come in and do a free sales audit with you where we can look at how you are opening bigger deals, your strategies, your ideas of how you are currently doing it, and loop it back to your growth and profit goals. We can tweak some things really quickly to give you quick wins. 

Click the link, and we will talk soon! www.maryrosehoja.com/audit