There are three stages to any sales meeting – what happens before the meeting, what happens during and what happens at the decision point.
I think the first is the most important. What happens before you get into the room with a prospect has more bearing on the outcome than what you say during the meeting, or how you ask for the business (although obviously these things matter too).
Stephen Covey says that every project is created twice, first in your mind, then in reality. In the same way, every sale is made twice, first to yourself, and then to the prospect.
The first sale is always to yourself. If you are not sold, no one else will be. Your work before the sales meeting is to make sure you are sold. Energetically you need to be convinced that what you are selling is going to provide value to the right client. Effective sales conversations happen when your heart, your mind and your mouth are all saying the same thing ... and this only comes from a deep conviction.
If you aren’t sold yourself, you’re not ready to have a sales meeting. You need to go back to work on your product or your offer until you’re in love with it. You know you are sold when you almost wish that you were a customer just so you could get what it is you’re selling.
I was at a restaurant last week where they offered five main courses. When we asked the waiter what was good, he said the duck and the steak were great. Not that those were his favourites, but that was what was really great here. I had a bit of both, and he was right. They were the dishes he was sold on.
I would love to see them take everything else off the menu. To only sell the things that they believed in completely, the things that they loved. Even if it meant only selling two mains.
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