In this competitive and informative world, its pretty hard for the client to differentiate between several companies pitching to them. In such situations, the first five minutes of your meeting can make or break the case for you. How do you impress a potential client within such short span?
You make all the important moves to get a difficult appointment with that decision-maker of a large organisation. You have five minutes to prove your case, else you know either you will have to forget this customer forever, or waste your valuable time to keep chasing him for a long and indefinite period.
Especially for people selling IT products or services, its a thin line between the competitors and the Cloud which is taking over. Consequently, its a tough time for the generic products and services selling companies.
But still, you know the key differentiator that you possess, that other competitors don't. To explain this in a way that it gets understood by the client is crucial in the five minutes that you have.
- Research the company before meeting the client
It always pays to understand a person or a company well before you meet them. This principle works even in dating! You wouldn't blindly date someone, it applies here too. Note down the salient points about the company and the person you are going to meet. Peruse their blogs, posts and collect any related news about them. It may seem irrelevant, but these small things can make a big difference while having that key five minutes discussion.
For example, if a company has stated an investment plan for rolling out in more locations soon in a leading national daily, this piece of information can be used as a key point in the discussion for the meeting. You can always say, your product or service will address this expansion plan effectively during the course of your meeting.
This will definitely make a favourable impression on the decision-maker. They will make a note of your agility and preparedness.
- Pay attention to the client's introductory briefing
While in a meeting of a short duration, you need time for your presentation and to make a pitch, it is very critical for you to let the other person speak. This is an opportunity for you to evaluate important aspects about the client and the organisation. Ask some simple questions which the client wouldn't mind answering. This should be strictly related to the agenda of the meeting. No out of topic questions or any embarrassing questions that might annoy the client.
The important task in this conversation is to understand the client's pain areas. Usually, a client will have some pain areas with the existing vendor. This could be related to the level of service they are offering or the product has some limitations or it could be to do with the ease of use or just about anything. Just grab every detail possible from this briefing of the client.
- Prepare a short pitch onsite
Yes you heard it right, ONSITE! Many newbie or even experienced sales people prepare a common sales pitch for clients. Well this could be good as part of an organisation's sales process. But it doesn't work every time. Especially when you have time limitations, you can't even think of going through your lengthy power point presentations.
The solution is, prepare a short pitch specific to this client based on the above steps quickly in your mind. The pitch should be towards the pain areas specified by the client and how you can address them.
All meetings do not necessarily have to have with your exhaustive power point presentations.
- Grab the client's attention
Remember, first impressions are always the best impression. So the first time if the client gets the message that you mean business and that you are completely different from other vendors, you are winning ahead of the competition.
The short sales pitch in the above step is going to make this possible. You will be a head turner and people will take notice of you, if you are able to solve their key problem. Give the client clear and crisp communication and never over commit. Mostly, service is the key area every client misses badly. Emphasising this with some substantial evidence, will make the point easier.
- Walk the talk
It's always easy for committing in a sales meeting, because our job ends there. But as mentioned in the title, its not about converting a prospect to customer, its about converting it to an account. Which is self-explanatory, its not about one single sales transaction, its that you are looking to build a long-term business relationship.
If you have walked the talk and ensured that this client is kept happy, he will be loyal to you forever. He wouldn't like to change vendors in the future, even if he leaves his current job and joins somewhere else, or even if he has to start multiple other business. The one person he will always remembers when it comes to this particular requirement is you.
Always remember, word of mouth or client referral is considered to be the best source of leads for a business. This one happy customer can give you unexpected referrals and leads which will correspond to big growth for you.
All the best for a successful sales career. Sales is a lovely profession which you can thoroughly enjoy if you take the right steps initially. Enjoy your profession!