Where is your focus during a sales meeting?
If the task of getting face-time with a prospect was challenging to start off with, the pressure to prove your value can feel overwhelming.
That pressure is a yawning trap that most sales professionals fall right into.
The trap is making the meeting about you, your company and your products, instead of what it should be about: your potential client’s needs.
If you often feel like you’re working really hard, if you find sales meetings stressful, if you struggle with self-doubt and negative thoughts and beliefs, then you’ve likely cannonballed right into that trap.
What looks important to us from this crappy vantage point is delivering the perfect value proposition. Saying all the right things. Having great rebuttals to every objection. Knowing the answer to every conceivable question. And worst of all, trying to prove your expertise by the sheer volume of product and services information you share.
Yikes, I’m exhausted just reading this!
I’ve got some really good news for you: there’s another way that is both easier and far more effective!
Take the focus off of you entirely!
Spend the majority of every sales meeting getting a full understanding of your client’s world and their needs.
I’m imagining a few eye-rolls out there. Duh, KYC is basic training. Of course, I do this! I challenge you back! Based on nearly sixteen years coaching financial professionals, I would say that a small percentage of you put most of your focus them. The rest of us are focusing on ourselves and the need to make a sale – at least part of the time.
Here are four tips to take make this shift, and up your closing rate while you’re at it.
Use your prep time to become an insider
Jot down notes about your client’s world, not just what you anticipate their needs will be.
An excellent way to get an inside view of their pain points is to research how to start a business like theirs. Got a meeting with a furniture manufacturer? Google this: How to start a furniture manufacturing business. You will immediately understand the main concerns of their world and will be predisposed to speak with empathy and build meaningful rapport from the client’s perspective.
Set a clear goal for the meeting
Your goal is obviously to win the business, but this often doesn’t happen right away. What is your objective for this meeting? Build trust? Get agreement for a second meeting? Okay, yes, and yes. But your #1 Goal should always be:
Get a clear understanding of my client’s top three priorities.
A good argument can be made that this is all that matters. If you haven’t uncovered their priority needs, then there is no compelling reason for them to give you their business. Period.
Once you have set your goal and have some understanding of their world, you are in a position to craft questions that will feel relevant and insightful to them. You will position yourself as an expert without ever having to ‘prove it’; the quality of your questions does it for you.
Be present and listen with everything you’ve got!
Your insightful questions will generate a truck load of valuable information. Your prospect will share with you their challenges and also how they feel about what they’re dealing with.
Take your time here! Relax! You are now fully into the most important part of any sales meeting. You are uncovering the gold. Your only responsibility now is to stay fully present and listen with both ears and an open heart.
When you’ve listened deeply, reflect back what you hear. You’ve now earned the right to offer some of your own expertise in the form of insight and perspective.
From this place, asking for the business feels like a natural unfolding of the next right step. Enjoy.
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.