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How to handle, "We won't be able to get this signed before month-end"

· negotiations,Transparency

I originally wrote this as a short post for LinkedIn, but due to it's on-fire-ness, wanted to make sure you all could use it as well in case you didn't see it there...

It's the last week of the quarter - and you just received a note from your goal-line prospect:

“Looks like we’re not going to be able to get this signed this week. Apologies for the delay. I would appreciate it if you’re able to hold our pricing until January. We should have this signed on the Monday after the new year. Please confirm.”

What do you do?

Below is a paragraph response you can cut and paste.

Our brains crave certainty, so make December certain, make everything else uncertain.


  • ...once you confirm, your deal just slipped to January.
  • ...once you say, “no, we can’t hold the price”, your deal likely just delayed indefinitely. (Trust eroded as the customer has asked for flexibility of a few days. The customer may now need to get everything re-approved. etc., etc., etc.)

So, here's the cut & paste response:

"Thanks for the update. Unfortunately, I won't know about January until January. The pricing you have now was based partially on the value we were getting in return for our ability to predict our business. So, I do know that if you're still able to get it done in the next 7 days, we're good, but we'll have to talk about January's pricing in January."

It should be the truth! As a CRO, there was no way for me to know what incentives we would need to provide prospects next quarter until (a) the current quarter was completed and analyzed against expected performance and (b) what shifts we would need to enact to maximize our ability to meet next quarter's requirements.

Make everything but December uncertain until January. When January comes, then you can decide.

As always, please feel free to reach out if you are looking for a speaker or workshop for your organization in 2020, or just want to nerd out on some of this stuff.

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