At the end of the day, what value do we offer?

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Are you really sure you are ready for this first meeting scheduled for tomorrow with a potential clients you have been chasing for months?

Given the figures noted above, this is a question well worth considering…

The numerous times I have provided prospect-meeting coaching in a multitude of fields confirm these statistics. The most common case is a PowerPoint presentation by the service-provider of their services with 30 slides in 30 minutes. Customisation is limited to changing the date and inserting the prospect’s logo on the cover page. And we tell ourselves that by providing our sales staff with tablets all that will become incredibly sexy.

The prospect, who began answering the sales rep’s questions a good half an hour ago, starts asking himself what is the point given that the presentation is standard …

The result is he starts to switch off by Slide 7 and begins taking over the meeting by Slide 12. And he does that by asking the only question worth asking: “Why are you here?” The underlying question is: “What makes you any better than the others? Why should I contemplate doing business with you? What interesting things can you tell me that I don’t already know? What do I get out of the 90 minutes I have taken out of a crazy agenda to meet with you?”

The fact is, sales reps are often sent to the front line without real weapons.

In substance, what value are they offering? How does the service they are offering benefit the company? Before discussing the “how” you need to establish the “why?”. To what extent does the positioning drawn up by marketing relate to the reality of a sales meeting?

In style, does the added value of putting a sales rep on the ground add up to nothing more than having someone narrate a PowerPoint? If that is the case then you may as well simply email the presentation over with an audio commentary and arrange for a debriefing by telephone afterwards. Would it not be getter to get sales reps to draw the “big picture” on a flip chart (that stays with the client), spiced up with anecdotes, success stories and the like?

We need to take a long hard look at what we once referred to as “sales tools” – and not just from a technological viewpoint.

At the end of the day, it might prove urgent to put off tomorrow’s meeting until next month…

François Drillon, EXECUTIVE SELLING (www.executive-selling.com)

THE THREE

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