The deal that you are working on is enormous. It’s not quite enough to make your number for the year, but it is enough to get you more than halfway there. The prospect is engaged and compelled to change, and you are excited. So excited, in fact, that you focus on nothing else. You give up prospecting. You stop following up on the early stage deals with the revenue that is a fraction of your big deal. And you put all of your effort into winning your big deal.
There are days and weeks between meetings with nothing to do. Whenever you are asked about new opportunities, you hold up your big deal as proof that you are working, and your equally excited sales manager moves on without another question. During calls to review opportunities, you share the latest happenings on your big deal, and everyone seems pleased that things are progressing. And then, without warning, your prospective client has a change of initiatives, and like magic, your deal disappears.
A big deal is not a shield that you can use to protect yourself from having to do the work of nurturing your dream clients, prospecting, and building your pipeline. Big deals are important, but they can cause the same psychological response as a lottery ticket when the dollar amount is ridiculously large. You massively overestimate your chances of winning, treating 1 in a 1,000,000 the same as 1 in a 1,000. Because the deal is big, you overestimate your chances of winning because the payoff is so much greater than an average deal. The difference is that when you buy a lottery ticket, you don’t quit your job.
Here is a dose of truth. Big deals tend to take time to win. There are often big gaps between meetings without there being anything you can or should be doing to pursue the deal. This time is best spent prospecting and following up your other deals, hedging your bet on the one big deal and protecting you from harm should your big deal go South. Even if you win the deal, you will have built a pipeline that will serve you while you work on your big deal, as well as after you win it.