I can say with some confidence that I’ve probably lost more sales deals than anyone that might read this post (or willing to admit it!) – I’ve been in the sales game for a long time and made my share of mistakes. So, speaking from experience, let me tell you why I lose, which might help you avoid the same outcome.
Sometimes I go into a sales meeting, with less than clear objective – is it a get to know you session or to detailed methodology of a project? I( have been so thankful to have the meeting, there was not enough time to spend on qualifying and identifying the real purpose of the discussion. That’s a losing strategy – believe me I have the scars to prove it.
So, consider a sound objective for the meeting and an agenda. This simple agenda has served me very well and can be adaptable to about any sales situation:
- About “You” the client
- About “Us” the service provider
- Opportunities to collaborate
- Yes or no thanks
With a structured 4-point agenda, the meeting flows very easily. This agenda also calls for the prospect to speak first, which enables the sales person to adjust key ideas and the approach based on what the client has put forth. Item #3 is the most important – what are the opportunities for you to work together? Here is where you bring it all together. And, finally #4 – don’t waste my time if you don’t want to do this. And, make sure the prospect knows it is OK, to say, “this isn’t a fit.” That save so much time later.
An agenda also keeps me from talking too much, which is totally toxic to a sales opportunity. That’s why I kick off the agenda with the prospect talking about themselves. My colleague, our SVP Mike Thomas, is probably the best sales person around and the reason is, he doesn’t say very much – he’s taking it all in.
So, have an objective, have an agenda, and shut your mouth. It works.