Lead the Dance
As a sales person you are not paid to do what your potential client wants you to do. You are paid to get in business. We have experienced that the clients really know well what they want, but you cannot expect them to know how to buy your type of service. Your service and your organization are different than others. You should try to lead the dance, without giving your client the feeling he is not in control.
Explain the commercial steps in the beginning
Often you start off with an introduction meeting. This meeting is not only organized to show the hundreds of products and services you can provide. You should focus on the wishes of your prospect. Find out why they have invited you and explain how you work. In the beginning of the meeting explain what the next step in the commercial process will be. Ask your client what criteria should be met to continue to the next stage. Also explain what you expect from your client before entering into the next phase. In the end of the day, you are qualifying your client as much as he does you.
“Don’t let the Introduction Meeting be an “I-Focused” show”.
Equal business stature
During the introduction meeting you should explain the commercial path you and your customer might follow to get to the required end result. During the process both parties should strive to possess equal business stature. Also the amount of investment (time and money) should be balanced. In case your client forces an imbalanced situation in your disadvantage you might need to disqualify your client. He probably is aiming for free advice.
Proposal is the last step
Only after all criteria to pass the earlier commercial stages are completed, a proposal will be prepared and submitted. Of course, you might feel that the relationship is developing really well and already start preparing your proposal, but do not forget to be patient to submit your proposal. In the end there is no way back after your proposal. In general you lose control to a certain extend after you submitted your proposal.
What happens after the proposal?
In case you did not discuss your need to get feedback on the proposal before submitting the proposal, you cannot blame your client if he does not provide the feedback. Explain to him that you will do your best in creating the proposal, but it might be possible that not all client requirements are understood correctly. You need the chance to make adjustments to your first proposal to meet your client’s requirements.