Business is inherently risky and vulnerable. Being in business will naturally provide endless opportunities for fear and the destructiveness of fear to enter into our hearts and minds. In this blog, I want to share four ways you can close the gap between fear and honor when you are facing something we all face at times in business: a deal going wrong.
Whatever you are facing in your deal going wrong – whether it’s a deal with a customer falling apart or a relationship with another company breaking down, the answer usually lies in one main thing. This is the thing that actually lies at the heart of all business: how you steward your relationships. In this blog, I want to share four keys that may just help you to save the deal!
1. Don’t surround yourself with “yes men”
Often, turning around a deal that is falling apart comes down to the relationships that you have built around you on your team. An honoring business culture invites others to share their opinions freely and fearlessly, confront one another, resolve conflict, and hold each other accountable. This is the exact opposite of what we find in dishonoring business leaders, which tend to surround themselves with “yes men.” This means everyone working to protect themselves and egos more than the company. Leaders who are cowardly about confronting problems, are unwilling to admit when they make a mistake (or when their plan is not working), and do not invite feedback, are on a track to create serious trouble.
One particular story comes to mind for me, when a trusted member of my team saved me from a really disastrous situation. There was one phone call with a contractor, where after much disrespect, countless insults, and incredibly low offers, pride took over and I began to dig my heels in. Rich, who has worked with me for 30 years, saw what was about to happen. He put the call on hold and said to me: “Bob you are out of line. You need to settle this and put your pride away. You need to get the best deal you can because we don’t want to go to litigation.” Honestly, I was then pretty angry at Rich too, but I knew that what he was saying was right. I calmed down, got back on the phone, made final negotiations, and got the deal done. The reason we were able to get back on track and not end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation is because of the connection and trust that I had built with Rich over the years. I knew he wanted what was best for the company, and for me, and in the heat of the moment, I was able to listen to him. Surround yourselves with people of honor, who call you out when you need it and help you to consistently make the best decisions for you and your company.
2. Put all your cards on the table
Another thing I learned from saving this deal, was that the whole thing could have been avoided with better communication. We did not communicate with our customer the right way about what was happening in real time and because we didn’t for whatever reason, that’s what caused this thing to go sideways. Communicate what is going on in real-time. Communicate when a deal is on the line by picking up the phone and going to see your customer or client in person.
If you’re in situation where it looks like there has been a loss of trust, then the best thing you can do, if you need the business or the deal, is to just sit with them and say, “Here, let us show you our work papers and how we came up with this.”This transparency helps your customer or client to understand and trust the direction you are going.
3. Ask good questions
It takes vulnerability and great humility to continuously position yourself to find out what your customer needs and demonstrate that you are open to feedback in order to meet their needs. In the case of a situation where the customer has some doubts in you and your company, they are not likely to come out and say it without prompting on your part. Honoring businesses grow in their ability to read the room, understand from their customer what the hesitancy is about, and ask good questions in order to bring a good resolution.
Some examples of great questions are:
Do you trust us?
Do you believe our price?
Did something happen that has caused you to doubt what we told you before?
Is there anything we can do to help you feel better about this decision?
These types of questions help to put both you and the person that you communicating with at ease because what you’ve done is show that you are interested and committed to meeting their needs. This displays how much you value the customer and also demonstrates that they can have confidence that you will work hard to provide solutions to their problems.
4. Be confident in your culture
Very few businesses are number one in the world at what they do, but you can be a world-class provider of your product or service by how you serve the client. When a deal is on the line, always make sure you communicate your why-why should your customer choose to work with you above other competitors? How does your business culture out serve your competition?
For us, we communicate that customers can always expect:
excellence and attention to detail
quick calls back
people who are both interested and invested in the deal
In business, we should always be seeking to close the gap between fear and honor. Never is this more important than when your business is facing a deal that is falling apart. But, ultimately, a successful business culture will have these values as their norm.
To learn more about how to build an honoring business culture, feel free t check out my new book Business of Honor, or find more free resources at Bobhasson.com.