I remember sitting in a room filled with unknown mid-level executives. Their eyes were glued to the screen. And there I was presenting my company’s services.
Charts, data and short commentaries – you name it, it’s there.
But the atmosphere was amazingly silent. There was a handful that seemed attentive while the odd ball was fidgeting around with his mobile phone. All look’s good – at least the surface of it.
The Q&A session was the end of the agenda. Nothing significant popped up, just general questions. I couldn’t figure any strong buying signal since it’s the first meeting.
I thought the vibe was positive. I was wrong. What followed on later was tough. There was inertia and silence despite repeated follow ups. Slowly, the sales opportunities died a natural death.
Since then, I have picked up powerful, little ways of framing my speech. Let me share some interesting insights by using this example below:
New prospect, first time meeting
You know a key contact only. Previously correspond via emails and phone calls. A meeting is scheduled and you are here to meet all. The prospect ropes in his colleagues in other divisions, majority are first timers knowing you. All ready to view your presentation deck.
What you should do:
Remember the names and designations of each individual. Just like a guest stepping into the hallway of a luxury hotel. The man at the door greets your name, making you feel highly valued.
Take important mental notes from the small talks (if any) or anytime during the presentation. For example, if Mr. Wong asks about current market condition of the industry, you bet he is curious to tap into your brains. Therefore, have a good presence of mind.
Observe proceedings between person-to-person. Sometimes, you get hidden meaning in the way they interact, the way they make jokes with one another or if they are completely hierarchical.
Listen to repeated key words or phrases and bring it out at the right time in the presentation. These may be vital to the new prospect, his concerns (which can be turned into buying signals).
Just ask – summarise and ask for the next call-to-action
How to angle your sales pitch:
Since you know the name, target your content specifically to the person in charge. For instance, if it’s marketing and you are talking about social media outreach, address the subject matter to that person accordingly with eye contact: “Roger, our expertise in Facebook is exceptional, as you can see the data on screen…..” It helps if Roger is the Decision Maker in digital marketing.
Roger has his Manager called Desmond based on his designation. Ask Desmond politely: “Roger finds the information interesting, what do you think Desmond?”
Don’t forget the rest as well. They can be the crowd pullers. Do a sweeping statement, looking to the audience, highlighting that it’s great to have positive review with Roger and Desmond. Shower with positive affirmation – these folks have seen things that others will not be able to visualize.
Recall Mr. Wong?
Alongside your presentation, try not to make it too structured and wait out for the Q&A – unless the prospect requests it. At some point in your conversation, do a reference to Mr. Wong’s request and relate back to him. He is thinking about current market situation. This is where you select a killer fact from the deck and plug in to your storytelling.
An illustration – “As I enter the room. Mr Wong tells me that he is keen to find out more about the trends happening now. We have the data in this dashboard, showing the figures and how things will develop in the future…….let me share with you about the implication……. Mr. Wong, how do you feel about it?”
As there are a number of people representing various departments, have a sense of how their concurrent responses are. If the Decision Maker Nigel is the only person voicing out and the rest is quiet, it may be a sign that the boss calls the shot. What others think can’t supersede his thoughts. Therefore, the salesperson has to nail down Nigel.
If Roger disagrees with Mr. Wong, he may say things to you (salesperson) like “Whatever concern with Mr. Wong will be with him, our division works differently. We have the capacity and budget to make decisions”. By then, you can gauge the level of interest and commitment with the right contact internally in each business unit. Never get involved into their internal work politics.
Finally, put an active listening ear, bring out the key words immediately. The prospect may be commenting about price war more than once. The words “price war” is your key takeaway; it may be the prospect’s perception that there are stiff competitors who doesn’t respect the industry rules. Use it to start a fresh discussion, ask for his opinion thereafter. Then create a story to re-enforce, of course include your product/service benefits.
There are various ways to deliver the impact in between the presentation deck. If you need fresh ideas, feel free to drop me a line anytime.