Yes, Let's Make A Deal!


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I received an inquiry the other day from an organization that’s inviting me to speak before its staff.

Small problem: they can’t pay me my standard fee.

Well, scratch them off them off the list, right?


If I’ve learned anything in my consulting career, it is the wisdom in the phrase, “Mighty trees come from tiny acorns. ” A prospect may seem small, but that’s only what a snapshot will reveal. Look deeper, and you’ll start to detect its potential, which can be phenomenal.

Here are seven things that should be considered before we dismiss a potential deal as being impossible to make:

(1) What additional forms of compensation can they offer, besides money?

My dad, an astute businessperson and salesman, was very fond of trading goods and services. For instance, the hot, Black Mustang convertible he drove was traded for advertising time on the radio. (His best trade, from my point of view!)

If you can’t do a 100% trade, consider making a deal for part-cash and part-trade. Airlines are often willing to make these arrangements.

(2) Will this experience enable you to penetrate a new market?

Some industries are difficult to break-into. Glamorous movie studios have no problem lining up vendors, and they can be very picky about hiring you, especially if you haven’t worked in “the biz. ” So, that inquiry you get from a tiny, independent studio may be just the credential you need to take you from being an outsider to becoming a chummy insider.

(3) A well-managed start-up may be tomorrow’s mega-firm.

You’re not just a salesperson, a marketer, or a businessperson. You’re investing in your clients in a way, by deciding to expend effort with them. If you think they are on the upswing, start with them on the ground floor. You’ll take-off, together.

(4) Provide creative financing.

Defer some of your earnings, as ballplayers sometimes do, in order to allow management to temporarily strengthen its financial condition. There’s a risk, but you can moderate it if you devise a suitable and fair schedule of payments.

(5) Cut quantity, but not quality.

Their eyes may be bigger than their wallets, right now, so see if you can pare back the order, a little. The price will become more modest, but you’ll still be able to serve them.

(6) Consider sending them to a struggling competitor.

Why help the competition? You’ll be taking the high road, and you’ll make two new friends, at once. And who knows, some day, that competitor may return the favor, or be open to a merger or acquisition overture.

(7) Will I feel better by saying no, or by saying yes?

There is an emotional consequence to making or passing on every deal. I regret having passed on about half of the deals that I thought I shouldn’t do. Some would have had tremendous upside potential.

So, the next time you feel that you just have to say no, try your best to say yes, let’s make a deal!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman © 2005

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of , is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:


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