The face-to-face meeting with a client, especially the first one, is the single most important event in the sales process. Stumbling block #3 in new client meetings (see #2 Robot) is the monologue. When you’re excited about what you or your product can do for your new client, it takes discipline not to explain it right away. Mistake 3 is what evil superheroes and salespeople have in common; the monologue. In a sales meeting, it’s deadly to both parties.
Here are the watch-outs for monologuing:
a. Spicoli-ing. I can fix it! When you think you know how to fix the problem your client just finished describing, you stop asking and start telling. This can be especially deadly early in a meeting.
b. Over-scripting – One way to get credibility at the start of the meeting is by using one of your scripts – the things you say again and again because they effectively summarize important points of uniqueness about you, your product or your company. Use a script or two as a tool to get enough credibility so your client will answer the questions you ask. But don’t over-script. As soon as you’ve established credibility, make yourself stop scripting and start asking.
c. Space-filling – You hit the first conversational dead-end, your first empty lull in the dialog, and you jump to fill it up with words; by talking about something you know, rather than asking about something you don’t. It’s more comfortable to talk about what we know than to explore what we don’t. We get to put on the status hat, be professorial and demonstrate our experience. This is all okay, even useful if you do it at the right time. But start ‘lecturing’ too soon, or just to fill a lull, and it often takes some superpower to make yourself stop.
The simple remedy is to wait to do your talking until the end of the meeting. In the middle, ask, listen and learn. Then, what you say at the end will be super.
The next post addresses stumbling block 4: Total Recall.