For many of us the sales meeting is our favorite part of the sales process. It’s our time to shine and do what we do best. We are face to face with the client using all the tools in our arsenal to convince them to buy our product and invest in us and our company. So why do we fail so many times to make the impression we are so desperately trying to achieve? Other than the fact that most of us don’t prepare well enough, have a list of questions, set goals or use an agenda, the main reason is because we do very little to align ourselves with the customer and get them engaged in the conversation.
Since the meeting is our time to shine we typically get hyped up for it (see video on Dwight getting ready for his sales call here at the bottom of this post). Some of us actually listen to heavy metal music, others take a few quiet minutes to psych ourselves up but we all do it in some way or another. Our temperature level is at a heightened level before we walk into the meeting. Then we walk into the meeting, make small talk to try and build rapport by talking about the weather and the game and then we dive into our typical questions that feel like a doctor check up visit (what do you do for this? what do you have for this?, etc.). The entire time we are digging for pain and when we find pain and we get all excited (“like Joe Joe the idiot circus boy with a pretty new pet”) and we pounce on it, letting the client know all the wonderful things we can do to fix it. Then we walk out of the meeting telling them we will put together a proposal, send it over and never hear back. Hmmmm, I wonder why.
Think about it for a minute, do you think the customer is getting pumped up for their meetings with us? Obviously not. They barely even remember who they are meeting with or why they are meeting with us in many cases. Also, how do you feel at the doctor’s office when they are asking you those questions? And, if the doctor were to find something wrong with you (i.e. pain) and proceeded to get all excited about it how would that make you feel? I’m guessing not all that great (unless you were terminal and they had the cure).
So, what can we do (beside preparing better, having an agenda and setting some goals)?
- Try to find a way to actually get the client engaged in the conversation early on and get their ‘temperature’ level up. The way you do this is by preparing and asking meaningful questions about their business, initiatives or role that put them in the position to be the expert. Let them talk about what they like talking about – THEMSELVES! And, make sure you don’t just focus on pain.
- Try asking pleasure questions every once in awhile like “what opportunities do you see in the future for xyz?” or “what is your favorite part of this initiative?”
- Lastly, make sure your questions are open ended, not close ended. If asked a close ended question most people will give you a close ended answer (yes, no, etc.). Get them talking.
My goal in the first 10 minutes of a meeting is to get the client from their usual starting position (legs crossed, leaning back in their chair) to the position I want them in (sitting up and leaning in to talk to me). You’d be amazed what the client will tell you when they get talking about something they are the experts in and excited about. Give it a try and see what happens.
Enjoy a little Office humor while Dwight gets ready for his meeting.
Make It Happen.