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Sales Strategy
Canadian Professional Sales Association

Congratulations! You’ve secured an important meeting with a hot new prospect. This may be your one and only chance to make a big impact, and you certainly don’t want to blow it. To help you prepare, we’ve pulled together five common mistakes pros make in client meetings so you can learn from them and earn your prospect’s respect and business.

Not Doing Your Homework

Research is integral to a successful client meeting and sales pitch. Ideally, you want to go into that client meeting with as much intel on your prospect company and the people in the room with you as possible. Knowing their likes, dislikes, goals and business pain will help you find “ins” and build rapport. Today, there is so much information online that many potential clients will be annoyed if you ask obvious questions - for example about company goals and objectives - that are easily available in the public sphere. Having a large amount of data and information at your fingertips will enable you to frame your questions and can help improve your chances. Instead of asking, “What are your company goals?” You can demonstrate your understanding of their position and get further insights by reframing it to: “I see that your company goals are X, Y, Z what does that mean in terms of your performance expectations for the type of product or service you are selling”.

Giving a Stock Pitch

Unfortunately for sales pros, before you even get into the meeting, you are battling against unkind stereotypes about pushy and obnoxious salespeople. For this reason, walking into a client meeting and giving a stock pitch is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Not only will you come across as insincere but you’ll waste your opportunity to make a powerful presentation.  You need to tailor your pitch to your client’s needs and business pain. If you aren’t able to glean this information from research and early stage interactions, don’t rush into a pitch in the meeting. Take the time to use questioning, build rapport, establish trust and credibility so when you give your pitch and presentation, it can be tailored to their unique needs.

Talking Too Much

Of course, you want to show your enthusiasm for your product or service in your client meetings but remember, this meeting is about them, not you. If you find yourself talking more than listening, then you are on dangerous ground. Questioning and listening are important sales skills to master. Although it’s tempting to extol the virtues of your company and product, spend more time asking questions and getting the client to reveal what they are looking for and mutual points of connection.

Not Using Tech to Tailor Your Presentation

As mentioned above, when it comes to the pitch itself, you don’t want to be rehashing an old stock presentation you’ve given before. Technology is changing the way salespeople present. Targeted presentations that make use of the data you have collected in your research stage demonstrate that you are not only an expert in your own product, you understand what the client needs for their business solution. Tech solutions can assist you greatly in getting the data you need to impress clients. And it can also give you some impactful solution to the sales presentation itself instead of boring old powerpoint.

Not Securing the Next Step

The last mistake is one that can have big repercussions. So you’ve made a great impression and/or presentation and the client seems interested… don’t walk out of that door without securing the next step. Endless things can happen the moment you leave, they might even have one of your competitors waiting outside the door to pitch the minute you leave. You need to have some action point or goal arranged at the end. If you can, arrange a product demonstration, the next more 'in-depth' meeting or agree to send a detailed sales proposal. Whatever the next step is, it requires commitment on the part of the client to proceed to the next stage of the sales process. If you don’t arrange this, your hot prospect can quickly turn cold.

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