Getting turned down? How to close the closer.

Ellie_Windle_MediaMathYou have suffered through the name droppers and pretenders, spent hours and hours evaluating candidates, and you managed the impossible; You found someone that you are excited about!  You made it to the 1-yard line and it’s time to extend a job offer.

Unfortunately, you don’t get points for making it to the 1-yard line.

If you have been using internal resources to source sales talent, than you have spent just as much money getting to the offer letter phase as you would actually filling the position.

The last yard is everything, and yet many companies don’t know how to close a closer. Sometimes pride gets in the way, and it feels like any sane person would OBVIOUSLY pick your company. The reality is that if you have identified a top Ad Tech sales person who is looking for a move…so have other top companies.

4 Ways to Close the Closer:

1. Listen closely and then play to your strengths

You have spent hours getting to know this person during the interview process.  You have been using this information to gauge their fit for the role, but just as importantly you should be using this information to SELL.

During the entire interview process, candidates will be dropping subtle and not so subtle hints about how they will be making their next career decision. It’s important that you are capturing this.

For example:

–       Did they mention they just started a family? If you are a small company with a laid back attitude, you may want highlight the flexibility of your office hours.  If you are a larger company, you could emphasize the stability of the company and the fantastic family insurance plan.

–       Did they mention they enjoy working closely with Marketing and Product teams?  You could walk them through an example where sales feedback influenced the product roadmap or a marketing initiative.


2.  Put everything in context, give examples, and make introductions:

You can’t just talk the talk to top candidates, you need to show them.

a. If your sales team is super close and always doing fun things, culture can be a big selling point.  Don’t just talk about it; make the candidate a part of it.  Introduce them to the team. Go out for drinks, take shots….high five.

b. If your Board or Executive team has successfully sold companies in the past, share the company and the board member names. Send articles and Linked-In profiles. Prove it!

c. If your Executive Team is established, well known and/or well liked in the industry; then introduce them!  If the Executive Team is one of the main reasons talented people are at your company, ask for their help closing the deal.

d. If your company has a history of promoting within, then sell career progression.  The best candidates are not only looking for their next move, but for how it helps them accomplish larger career goals.


3. Show them the money…or at least the path.

The best sales people won’t necessarily be looking for the offer with the highest base salary.  But they will be looking for a package that is competitive in terms of all-in upside. Don’t make vague promises about how much they will make on the commission portion of their comp package. Map it out for them.

a. Current Sales Success- If your sales team is crushing it, explain exactly how.  The sales person wants to know that your company sets obtainable sales goals and that your sales team is happy.  If this is the case, make it clear.  Lay out the past few quarter goals and which percentage of the team hit them.

b. Client Retention Rate- If your clients are happy, make sure to share specific metrics with the candidate. Client retention not only means marketers have said yes to the product, but also that it actually worked for them.

c. Sales Support- Even sales folks who love early stage start-ups, want to understand the type of support they will have.  From sales collateral to a sales planner, all will factor into their decision.  If this is a strength of your organization, make sure to highlight it.


4. Gifts Never Hurt Anyone

Maybe it’s a bottle of wine with a hand written note that says you are excited at the prospect of working together. Maybe it’s a Yankee’s hat, because you connected over your love for the team.

The exact what doesn’t really matter, but as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.

This person is about to make a huge life decision. Knowing that you are confident in their fit and excited to have them on board will make the decision all that much easier for them.

Bottom line, don’t get lazy on the 1 yard line! Call in the full extent of your resources, and make sure you do everything you can to get across the goal line.


Ellie Windle is a contributor at The Makegood and Sales Director at MediaMath. MediaMath is the leading provider of digital media trading technology and services, and invented the demand side platform (DSP).