The Clangers That Will Kill Your Sales Meeting
Relationships are one of the vital keys to sales success, and first impressions count.
Therefore, when you have managed to secure a face-to-face meeting with a client, don’t throw all your hard work out the window by making these classic clangers:
Being late to the meeting
You live and work in the city where the street traffic is a nightmare and the public transport system is even worse. None of these are any excuse for being late to a meeting. You know the area, so make allowances, and then make some more. All a late appearance says to a prospective customer is that you can’t be bothered to put in the effort to stick to something as simple as a prearranged time. Bye bye prospect.
Not checking your appearance
The reason that people are staring at you on the bus is not your winning Hollywood smile and good looks, but the huge egg stain on your shirt or blouse or the Joker-like lipstick smear on your face. Before you head into a meeting, always pop into a bathroom for a quick onceover in the mirror.
Going straight into pitch mode
Whoa, hang on there tiger!! Sure, you’re there to sell something, but nobody really wants to be pitched at. You will create a much better impression by asking intelligent and targeted questions and listening attentively. Avoid talking more than you listen.
Yes a smile goes a long way, but when you start to embrace the prospect like a long-lost friend or give them a bone-crushing handshake and hearty slap on the back, you come across as way too insincere, and a member of the smarmier end of the profession.
Yakking into your mobile
Unless there really is an emergency, like your wife is about to give birth any minute or aliens have set up camp in your street, leave the mobile off. During your conversation with your prospect, nothing is more important than him or her.
Being vague on the product details
Your customers have done their homework and have read up everything about your products and your competitors’ products. However, they have a few niggling questions they’d like answers to. Now, nobody expects you to be Stephen Fry and know everything about everything, but if you have to say “I’m sorry I’ll have to get back to you on that” a few times, you will be in serious danger of losing the sale.
A McKinsey study asked 1,200 buyers in small, medium and large companies about their experiences with sales people. The most destructive mistakes that sales people made were too much contact, in person or by phone or email (35% of respondents said this); lack of knowledge about the product they were selling or those of their competitors (20% of respondents said this) and lack of business/industry knowledge or usefulness of the product to the client’s business (9% of respondents said this).
Letting the meeting drag
Your prospective clients are busy and so are you, so don’t overstay your welcome. Agree a time limit beforehand or at least come prepared with a cut-off time for when you should be winding things up.
Securing a Sale
Don’t lose sight of the prize by making a few silly mistakes. Avoid these howlers and you’ll increase your chances of leaving the meeting with a firm commitment to buy.
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