By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
It may be difficult for you to identify when to pitch to certain clients and when not to. Investing in B2B market research is key to understanding your customers, but all too often many of us enter a customer meeting without actually preparing beforehand. This can result in more than just a lost sale – it can lead to reduced confidence and the ongoing question of what went wrong. Not preparing for the sales call is basically waving a sales opportunity goodbye just because you were too eager to get rolling. But, don’t feel too bad – even the most veteran sales professionals do it. Here’s a quick checklist you can use before you leave your desk to meet with a client.
1. Get Intimate with Client Knowledge
Not knowing what’s going on in your customer’s industry is a major mistake many sales professionals make. Understanding just what your client does is not enough, you must be familiar with where the market is heading and how what your selling fits into future plans. So many salespeople let market insights pass them by and then wonder why they are not top performers.
Industries change on a daily basis. Yes, you read that right – a daily basis. Just because training software was high last week or even yesterday does not mean your technology client is interested in it right this moment. Maybe they want to know everything about cloud commuting because – guess what – it’s trending today. Being on point with your knowledge is essential to pre-meeting prepping.
The first thing you should always do is to utilize your customer intelligence software. Even just a glance is often enough for some sales people. Doing so may help you adjust your pitch strategy enough to convince the client to purchase the product.
In an op-ed piece for Inc magazine, Mark Suster recommended sales people look beyond “sell and tell” approach and instead really get to know the client. And that relies on not only knowing the customer but the ins and outs of the product.
2. Understand the Product – Intimately
Suster suggested you get into a discussion with the client. An ongoing conversation helps customers invest in not only what you are selling but you and your brand as well. However, so many sales professionals only know a few key points about the product due to time constraints and cannot get beyond the “sell and tell” technique because their knowledge is lacking.
So stop thinking you will be able to remember all of the product’s features and review what you’re selling beforehand. Otherwise your client won’t trust you and walk out the door. A quick glimpse may be enough for more experienced sales professionals but carefully rereading any and all product information can help you to answer every single customer question and avoid missing the sale.
3. Pump Up the Motivation
Confidence is essential to convincing the client to buy your product. If you have to go the Dwight Schrute route and rock out to heavy metal before stepping out of your car, do it. Just remember to park far enough away from the building so the customer doesn’t see – unless they are headbangers themselves.
While it may seem unwarranted, motivating yourself before entering the meeting is a great strategy to adopt. Often, it takes the first few minutes of an interaction to get focused, so doing it all beforehand increases your chances. Staying professional is key to making the sale, but having a little fun before you enter that meeting can help you get energized.
4. Be Cool
Every sales person gets rejected at some point – so be prepared for it. No matter how much research you do or pumped up you get, sometimes the client doesn’t buy the product. Many times, persistence pays off, but a rejection offers many benefits, like figuring out what part of your pitch doesn’t work. So be prepared for it before it happens.