The “for sure” sale.

Here’s how a “for-sure” deal almost become Closed-Lost.

I once had a contact tell me the project we were working on to help make them more effective, was a “done deal.”

It was until it got to the desk of the CFO.

Turns out, my contact was not totally forthcoming about the authority they said they had.

And I had one more hurdle before our sale could go through. Turns out I had two.

Founders of small businesses know if you’re selling to medium-to-large businesses, chances are they have a CFO. The CFO’s main job is to make sure their company gets the best deal and doesn’t overspend.

If, after doing your research on the company, you can show them how to do either of those things, then that is what you lead with when speaking with a CFO.

The first hurdle: The CFO’s Gatekeeper.

If the CFO’s Gatekeeper asks you, “What is this call is about?” tell him/her that it is about saving money on the XYZ project (or initiative).

Now, they may try to block you (that is their job) and tell you, “Just send us the information.”


Reply, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I only send relevant information. And I can only do that if I ask a few brief questions of <CFO>. Then I will send everything over. Can you please either put me through or schedule 10 minutes on their calendar?”

If this does not work, try calling outside the 9 to 5 office hours, even if you have to leave a voicemail.

For this sale, I did call that day around 5:30 PM and the CFO answered the phone.

I briefly explained how our solution would save them money and help with efficiency (both items CFOs like). He agreed and the deal was done.

A couple of lessons here:

1.   Always try to speak the language of your buyer. With my original contact, it was product features. With the CFO it is numbers and efficiency.

2.   The Gatekeeper has a job to do and is not to be disrespected. They should not, however, keep you from doing your job.

The only “for sure” thing is sales is, it ain’t over till it’s over.


90% of sales outcomes are a result of what’s going on under the surface. I call this The Iceberg Effect. As salespeople, that 90% will have a profound impact on your income. If you want to control and improve that 90% go here or Follow me on LinkedIn here. 

Factional sales management
Fractional sales management