"I'm so tired...I haven't slept a wink. I'm so tired...my mind is on the blink." The Beatles Anyone that has been in the business for a while has experienced "deal fatigue." It occurs when a deal drags on so long that you have traded too many written proposals, sent too many emails, lost track of details, are tired of talking about it, and generally annoyed at the very mention of the deal. It's becoming more and more common as large companies take longer to work through their decision-making process and even longer through the corporate approval process.
When you get deal fatigue, nothing good can happen. When the deal ends, you aren't happy, but rather simply relieved. However, something usually gets missed at the end so while you thought it was over, you will inevitably get that dreaded phone call that tells you to fix the mistake.
Because I am suffering from deal fatigue on a very small (but important) transaction right now, I am going to give you some tips on how to avoid it:
- Flawless process: I have written several times about how, in commercial real estate, process is extremely crucial. It's at the heart of what we do. While we can't control the client or the parties on the other side of the deal, we can control our implementation of a process. We can't prevent the deal from dragging, but we can document our progress, each small step at a time, insuring that nothing will slip through the cracks or our end.
- Teamwork: If you are starting to feel deal fatigue setting in, lean on a partner to take the lead for a week or two. It will take you 30 minutes to bring him up to speed and he will come to it fresh, maybe even with some ideas on how to get the deal over the finish line.
- Great clients: I always say that if I hit the lottery, I would still show up for work the next day. However, I would fire some of my clients, but obviously none of the ones reading this blog. If you have great clients, no matter how long the deal takes, you can commiserate together while working through the issues to get it done.
- Enforce timelines: Set a timeline at the beginning of the transaction for each task and key decision. This goes directly back to process. Once everyone agrees to the timeline, it's each team members responsibility to make sure that its followed. If you are still feeling deal fatigue, but following the timeline, maybe its you that's bringing the negative energy.
- Stay positive: Negativity attracts other negativity. If you stay positive, a long process will feel shorter. It's the power of positive thinking.
So next time you can't wait for a deal to get done, take a look back. How was the process? Could you have delegated certain tasks to keep your mind fresh? Do you want to work with this client again? Did it really take too long or did it just feel that way? Were you bringing down the energy or trying to keep it positive? Everyone involved in the transaction has the ability to influence its outcome. Are you the positive influence or the cause of someone else's deal fatigue?