Every salesperson has been there. You’ve finally been given fifteen minutes to impress a prospect that you’ve been pursuing. This is your opportunity, your time to shine. What do you say?
Note that you are not attempting to close a deal at this stage. Rather, your goal is to build a relationship that will eventually lead to a sale.
Here are five tips about how to proceed.
Listen, Learn and Don't You Dare Sell
Before saying anything sales-related, engage in small talk and set the tone that you're a friendly, real human being, not someone purely out to gain their business. Make a point to learn some things you didn’t know about the prospect.
Ask More Questions Then Lead
When the conversation shifts to the possible transaction, start honing in on their pain points and issues by asking questions. Confirm information previously gathered about the prospect and also fill in the gaps in your research. Ask leading questions (the way attorneys aren't really allowed to) to suss out out everything about the prospect that could affect their decision – prejudices, problems, desires, or conflicts. To give the best sales pitch, you must know everything that’s part of the prospect’s decision-making process.
Identify Their Buying Motive
While there may be several factors contributing to the interest in your product or service, there is usually one overriding motive. Perhaps the prospect is looking for a new computer system because he’s embarrassed by the slow speed of the current system. Or perhaps his business has been doing well and he wants to upgrade the computer system to prepare for business expansion. The two different motives lead to the same need but will require two completely different sales pitches. So learn their motive, and also know how to effectively deliver whatever sales pitch you determine they need.
Ascertain Their Level of Urgency
This is another important variable. Perhaps the prospect’s boss is getting back from vacation next week, and the purchase must be completed before then.
Know Your Audience
Find out whether you're with a decision-maker or not. If you're not, you can relax and little and really focus on your likability without executing a full sales pitch. But don't treat this person as unimportant! They're actually an incredibly valuable liaison between you and the decision-maker. Focus on being accommodating, relaxed and friendly during your time together. Then, continuing with that helpful demeanor, follow up afterward with emailed printable or easily shared sales collateral materials that your contact can put under their boss' nose to help close the deal.