I hear this number a lot – 99.99%.

It is usually within this context:

Me: Is it a done deal?
Them: Yeah totally.
Me: Is the deal signed?
Them: No, but it is 99.99% going to happen…


This can apply to so many different things but I thought I would share a few examples below

The advertising deal

This one usually comes with different odds – somewhere in the 50%+ range

“We are about 60% certain this IO is going to get signed”

This applies to a few different cases but usually gets into things like sales pipelines and assigning percentages to deals in Salesforce

The Sale (goods or services)

Anything above the 80% confidence level gets attention and scrutiny.

“We got 90% of the way there – and have the last 10% to go”

Warning: This last 10% is the hardest part. You might as well reset your scale and have the last 10% reset to 100% left to go.

What can get in the way?

Last minute shenanigans (yeah, I put shenanigans in the list)
Out clauses
Launch timelines
Leaked information
Competitor language

The new company hire

This one always gets a 50% chance up until deal docs – then seems to move magically to 80%. I remember an experience in a previous company where this one woman was 50% for about 3 months, then we went to deal docs and she was at 80% then got another offer out of left field for literally DOUBLE the offer I was aware of and she didn’t take the job.

Time wasted? Maybe not as there are lessons learned.
Percentages talked about? 50%, then 80%, which got the wheels in motion for “making room for the new hire”

The sale (of the Company)

This one suffers from a major misinformation problem. People at the top have their percentages, and the people at the bottom have theirs. In my limited experience these range from “10% going to happen to 99.99% going to happen”

This one is a favorite because the “%” has almost no bearing on anything other than the psychology of the number. Things can go awry at any moment and it literally is not a done deal until the documents are signed.

There are countless other examples but I wanted to share some that come to mind.

My point? Nothing is a done deal until it is signed. Everything else is just a percentage chance of happening.