After reading a long email from a wantrepreneur who never gets around to asking for funding, VC blogger Fred Wilson relays the following advice from a friend on how to close a deal:
The best advice my old man gave, and the advice he drilled most emphatically and repeatedly was, ASK FOR THE ORDER. You'd be amazed how many people talk to customers forever and never actually say ask for the order.
Fellow VC blogger and Half.com founder Josh Kopelman, advises, however, that "the way you ask is just as important as asking." Kopelman's anecdotal advice in 100 words:
Before we launched Half.com, we needed inventory. We reached out to stores and shops, sending them our three-page seller agreement. Retailers were either intimidated or didn't want to spend the money to have a lawyer review it. 60% of sellers would drop out. We made a change and asked the seller to agree to our terms of service by clicking a box. We didn't change what we asked for — we just changed the way we asked for it. One of my portfolio companies [was] talking with prospects about a big ad deal, sending out an "Advertising Partnership Agreement." They learned that all nonstandard agreements had to go to legal — which added weeks/months to the process. Instead, they sent over "Ad Insertion Agreement" which had the same terms of our prior agreement, [but] our marketing contact had full authority to sign.
(Photo by Cold Cut)