There’s always a limit to how many client meetings you can fit in your diary in a week. So getting the most out of each meeting is key if you want to reach your sales targets. With the some of the request I currently get on my LinkedIn profile, there’s apparently a need for some basic 101 sales training out there. The secret behind some of the worlds most successful sales people & organisations is not the frequency of customer interactions, it is the fact that they sell to people that has a need for their product or services. This may sound like a very obvious statement, but think about it…If you can’t answer these 3 simple questions, you are better off moving on to the next one on the list.
Let’s face it; people in general don’t like change. This means that we tend to avoid anything that requires change as long as we don’t have the motivation to do things differently. The first question you should ask yourself is: why should the client change? By listening a little more than you speak when setting up that first meeting, you might just learn that the meeting is not required at all. If the client doesn’t need your product or service, you are wasting both your time and theirs. If you don’t learn this before you’re halfway through that first meeting, be honest and straightforward with the client and move on to the next meeting. A good salesperson will sell you what you need, and sometimes that is nothing at all. Knowing when not to sell will sell your reputation!
One of Sun Tzu’s most famous quotes is “keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”. Many companies refuse to have a serious conversation about their competitors, hence missing out on very important intel about their business & industry. Never ever underestimate your competition! Know their strengths and weaknesses like you know your own. If you know what you are up against, you will know what the client needs and why the client should choose your specific product or service.
Sometimes it seems like you did everything right, but you still didn’t get the contract. All this is perfectly normal. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in the world if your timing is wrong. There might be other priorities that make it more or less impossible for the client to invest in your product at this stage of time. Don’t fight a loosing battle. Find out when the timing is right, and ask for a rain check. If you have the right product or service, it’s just a matter of time before the client will get back to you.
Remember that both you and the client are investing a lot of time and money into each vendor meeting. By qualifying your leads and choosing your battles wisely you will find that your sales conversion rate will improve dramatically.