“Why are we here?” I asked the young salesperson I was coaching, as he sat next to me in my car.
“To make a sale?” he replied tentatively.
“What did you tell the prospect when you set up the meeting?”
“I told them we just wanted to better understand the business so we could see if we could help them out.”
“What do you plan to sell them?”
“Well, I’d like to sell them our new product! I’m really impressed with it.”
“Do you think you can sell that in this meeting? What do you know that would suggest they’d be interested?”
“Maybe not. I want to give it my best shot though!”
“While I admire your enthusiasm, that’s not going to happen.”
The chances of that young man making a sale were slim to none. There simply wasn’t enough time in the appointment we had scheduled, unless the prospect already knew who we were, what we were selling, that he wanted one, and he’d called us.
Let’s stop being unprofessional and giving salespeople a bad name! Do what you said you were going to do. Don’t lie or deceive people on the phone or elsewhere, and then expect them to trust you to be their supplier. Be upfront and honest.
One way to do that is to state your purpose clearly when you first meet. It might go something like this:
(Name) I appreciate you taking the time to see me. I know you’re busy so just to make sure we’re on the same page, my purpose in seeing you today is to do three things:
- First, I’d like to briefly introduce myself, and my company, to give you a flavour of who we are.
- Second, and more important, I’d like to learn more about you, your business and your challenges that might be helped by our ideas.
- Finally, if the ideas we have could be of benefit to you and you’ve convinced yourself that they would make your business better off, then we’d love it if you became a client. Does that sound fair?
Now the prospect understands that:
- You’re a professional who is not about to waste their time.
- You’re organized and have an agenda.
- You’re consistent with your phone approach. You can be trusted.
They can relax and be curious about what you might do for them. You’ve achieved your goal for this stage of the sales process and laid the groundwork for a successful sales relationship.