How the "Neighborhood Technique” Saved a Sure-Thing Deal We Almost Blew

About Author: Scott Britton is the Co-Founder and Head of Growth at Troops, the Sales Acceleration Platform for modern sales teams that use Salesforce & Slack. On the weekends, you can usually find him long-boarding or continuing his quest to make the perfect avocado margarita.

After four follow-up emails, I was still waiting on a response.  I was about to chalk this deal up to the radio silent category.

I landed a meeting with the company through a long shot personalized cold email. They are one of the bigger partners in the space and had recently secured a partnership themselves, which would mean big business for us, or whichever data provider they went with.

Up until now, the deal was going well.

I gave a product demo to each of the key stakeholders on the first call. There was a very obvious fit. We reviewed the deal points verbally on the phone and emailed our boilerplate contract afterwards. It all checked out.

But, here I am, getting the silent treatment. 

 

The Neighborhood Technique: How to Book In-Person Meetings

The potential partner was located in Northern Europe and embodied a very non-aggressive sales culture...so there was no way the bulldog sales style was going to fly there.

With potential partners of this size, we would typically meet in person early in the deal cycle. But, things seemed to be moving so fast and seamlessly up until this point that it didn’t seem necessary.

But now, after no in-person time with them, we were waiting on a number of unanswered email threads.

My colleague and I strategized on how to revive the conversation. We both agreed that aggression wouldn’t work here. They had all the leverage. And culturally, they wouldn't respond to that.

Instead, we used what we called the “Neighborhood Technique” to see if they would bite.

The neighborhood technique is a low-risk way to propose an in person meeting (face time) with someone you’re trying to close a deal with, by telling them that you’re already going to be in the neighborhood.

The odds of me being in their country were low. I'm based in New York city.

So, I shot them an email to let him know that a month from now, we were going to be in London for business. And since we had a few extra days on our trip, we were considering spending them up north in his city. If he was around, it’d be cool to meet in person and see their office.

No mention of the deal. No mention of the lack of response. Just a casual office tour :)

Two weeks went by, still no response.

I figured I had nothing to lose, so I replied letting him know that we were in fact going to be in his city on Thursday and Friday of that week.

Within minutes, he responded with a few times for Thursday.

I confirmed the meeting time. Then immediately booked a trip to Europe to get the deal done.

 

So...How Did the Meeting Go?

The meeting couldn’t have gone better.

We talked about each other’s businesses. We nearly glossed over everything we’d spoken about before.

Toward the end of the conversation, he mentioned that he was glad we met in person and felt good about working with us now.

Within a week, the contract was in a redline process and signed by both sides shortly after.

 

What We Could Have Done Better

We were relieved to have won the deal, but it could have just as easily gone sideways due to my early communication mistake.

In retrospect, it was obvious that we should have met with them in person sooner. Particularly, given things were going so well initially.

At the time, a trip to Europe for what seemed like a fast tracked deal appeared to be unnecessary.

But, with opportunities of certain sizes, the initial pace and geometric proximity shouldn’t dictate how high touch you approach the opportunity.

 

Conclusion

The major takeaway here is that momentum of a deal shouldn’t push you to deviate from your process. For us, this meant getting face time early and often with partners of a certain size.  

You never know what’s going to happen. So, you must control the controllables. Adherence to a proven process will give you the best chance to succeed.

Win or lose, you can rest assured that you gave yourself the best chance to succeed given the information you had at the time.

Have you tried this before?