There is nothing worse than finally getting a meeting with a buyer you have been chasing for some time, only to completely blow the meeting. No one goes in with the intent of blowing, but it happens, even when you prepare in advance. There are some basic things we can pay attention to that can make a world of a difference, especially given the fact that many sales people commit these errors, and you can standout by just avoiding them.
In this series we will look at five common things we can all focus on, and change, both how we do things and the outcomes. Each of these on their own may not be fatal, but I see many reps bring two, three or more to meetings, creating more work and less results.
Interrupting – While it may seem obvious, you’d be surprised. Often it is no more than excitement that your buyer says something that aligns with your view or offering. They say the “magic word”, and like one of Pavlov’s dogs, reps jump in. They don’t want to miss the opportunity to score, they enthusiastically go for it, demonstrating how simpatico they and the buyer are. Problem is, no matter the intent, no matter how Zen the moment is, it is still an interruption.
At times you can get away with it once, on really strong points in good meeting (till that point) maybe, maybe twice. By the second time you do it, you are actually beginning to train the buyer not to talk. They want to say something, something important for them, and by extension to you, and just as they are about to make a point, you step on their sentence. Doesn’t take long for them to think to themselves, “What’s the point of talking, this dude’s just gonna interrupt me; if I stay quiet, he’ll leave sooner.” Remember they have been here before, they don’t know if you are genuinely enthusiastic, or just schmuck, like all the ones that came before you.
There is a simple solution over and above learning how to bite your tongue, and it is how you take notes. I hope I am not mistaking making the assumption that you take notes already. Beyond being a great cure for a short memory, taking notes has a positive effect on your buyer. The act of you writing down what they are saying, encourages them to talk more, the more they talk, the more informed the discussion is. If you have been to a meeting where you think you are sharing some good points, but the person on the other side is not taking any notes at all, you know how it feels. Even if you heard it before, same words, same order, same old – take notes! Encourage them to speak and share, it can only be good.
As the meeting starts, draw a line about a third in from the right side of the page. Every time the buyer says one of your “magic words”, don’t salivate and jump in, instead, write it down in the narrow column you just created. Your normal notes can go in the wide column. This not only allows the buyer to fully express themselves (and help you sell), but you will differentiate yourself from the interrupters. When the buyer finishes, you can demonstrate that you were paying attention, taking in what they said, and processing it in a way that serves their objectives. You’ll be surprised at the power of being able to say “Earlier you said the “magic word”, and I found that interesting because a number of our clients……” and weave in the point you wanted and needed to make, and others would have interrupted with. So instead of interrupting the buyer, interrupt yourself, and don’t blow the meeting.