Here is question number four (and my response) to the salesperson’s ‘would you or would you not’ quiz.   Is this something you would do at a first sit-down meeting with a prospective client?

4)  Summarize a transaction you are currently working on with a well known client.

The benefit of doing this is that your prospect knows you are working with a well known entity.  In addition, if the transaction is interesting or creative, then you can educate your prospect on what’s cutting edge in the marketplace.  These are both good.  They establish your credibility.  Getting to a benchmark level of credibility, (defined as credible enough that your prospect will answer the questions you ask), is necessary to have a good meeting with a prospect.

All that said, I don’t suggest summarizing a current transaction with a well known entity.  Partly because it’s something ‘you are currently working on.’ It’s a good policy to avoid telling people what your clients are currently up to.  This invites the question on the part of your prospect, “Will he blab about my situation to my competition if I do business with him.”   Sadly, by talking about your current piece of business with MegaCorp, you’ve already answered this question.   Your integrity is a hygiene issue.  Don’t compromise it.

There are ways to summarize a transaction generically, talk about a creative twist on a product or service, or to mention a respected organization with whom you work without compromising your integrity, or your clients’ trust.  For example, if you mention an organization you’re working with,  don’t disclose details of what they’re currently doing.  Or, talk about something interesting you’re working on,  just don’t say with whom.   These can both help you reach the benchmark level of credibility – the point at which a prospective client is prepared to answer the questions you ask- with your integrity intact.   Once your prospect is willing to answer your questions, let your questions build your credibility, not your stories.

In the next post, I’ll respond to the following.  Do you…

5) Find out which competitors they are talking to, and communicate a concern that people have with that company.

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