Sales Tip #2: When More People are Added to the Equation

Sales Tip #2: If a potential client asks for another meeting with the specific purpose of bringing more people into the discussion, you should assume those people are influential.

Sometimes when selling to someone, that person will request a follow-up meeting for the purpose of involving more people in the decision-making process.  More often than not, a decision-maker is not going to bring more people into the discussion for the heck of it.  Instead, this person realizes that wise decision-makers know to surround themselves with wise advisers.  As a seller, it’s important to learn what perspective each adviser has to offer, and what role they will make in the decision-making process. 

It doesn’t have to be hard.  Begin with the same process you used for the initial meeting.  Get the names of the people who will be joining you at the next meeting and do some research about them online.  Then, start the next meeting with our go-to question from Sales Tip #1, “Hi [colleague’s name], it’s nice to meet you.  Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role at [company’s name]?”  Then, follow that question up with another question directed at the original buyer, “Hi [buyer], nice to see you again.  I understand you wanted [colleague’s name] to join us this time.  What perspective are you hoping she/he brings to the table?”

These questions will help you discover what areas you should focus your discussion on.  Did the buyer bring financial experts to the meeting?  Product experts?  Social media experts?  Whatever their areas of expertise, your buyer probably has questions about your proposed solution in those areas and wants the new participants’ opinions on the matter. 

Finally, in addition to helping you know what areas to focus the discussion on; these questions will also help with relationship building.  They will help you begin to build relationships with the new participants in the decision-making process, and they will strengthen your relationship with the original buyer.  Remember, it was his or her choice to bring these people into the decision-making process, so respecting them communicates that you respect the buyer’s judgment – and respect is one of the cornerstones of a strong relationship. 

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Sales Tip #1: Know Who You Are Selling To – Obvious but Essential

Sales Tip #1: Know who you are selling to.

While this tip may seem incredibly obvious, it is also incredibly important.  Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a sales call where it was painfully obvious that the seller knew nothing about you or your company?  How does that leave you feeling?  Annoyed?  Frustrated?  Like the meeting was a waste of time?

As a seller, it’s easy to get so caught up in trying to highlight the benefits of your solution and the credibility of your brand that you forget to focus on the buyer.  Yes, your solution and credibility are important, but it’s more important to develop a relationship with your buyer.  Doing so is easier than you may think.

Take the time to learn about the people you are meeting with.  Ideally, this involves doing research ahead of time: checking out the buyer’s organization and personal bio online (if their bio is not on their company website, check out LinkedIN).  If that’s not possible, then start your meeting with a simple, “Hi [buyer’s name], it’s nice to meet you.  Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role at [company’s name].”  In fact, I suggest starting all your meetings like this because you never know when an online bio is outdated or what else you might learn about someone just by asking.

Once again, this may seem obvious, but it’s important.  Why?  Because sales, especially in the service industry, is becoming more about establishing a working relationship with someone than it is finding a “quick fix.”  Even in the product industry, most people will tell you that they would rather buy from someone they have a relationship with rather than someone they barely know.

In the end, that is what sales is all about—building a relationship.  And you can’t have a relationship with someone you don’t know.