Recently, I was working with a group of salespeople who work on a long sales cycle. The sales team works diligently at presenting three- to five-year deals to their prospects since they generate considerable revenue and residual commissions.

During our meeting, two sales reps complained about prospects who had apparently changed their minds about the terms of their deals. At the end of the negotiations, both prospects suddenly stated that they were interested only in single-year contracts.

Needless to say, the reps were frustrated and annoyed because they each felt that their respective deals were practically confirmed and that their prospects had committed to multi-year contracts.

However, when I questioned the reps, it became evident that although they had pitched multi-year terms to their prospects, they failed to confirm them as they continued through the sales process. What had seemed self-evident to the reps came as a complete surprise to their prospects. As a result, they encountered resistance and push-back.

Miscommunication can derail, sidetrack or cause a deal to come to a grinding halt. Avoid this from happening to you by confirming the terms of the sale, the responsibilities of each person and the negotiated outcomes as you move through each stage of the sales process.

Validate your understanding of the terms of a deal before you send a contract or ask for a signature. A few moments of clarification can prevent the unnecessary stress and disappointment of a miscommunication.

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