09 February 2007

A little preparation might be a good idea

If you are pitching to a big company and you think that you have just one shot then you are probably doomed to fail.

In big companies, people rarely (if ever) decide to change how they're doing things in just one meeting. They need to:
  • involve others in the decision process. Getting management & staff buy-in is often essential for the success of any new initiatives or products
  • compare your potential ROI figures with their own internal analysis
  • make sure it's worth their while. Bringing in new vendors, service providers or consultants is a lot of work and frequently disruptive to their existing schedules
As a seller, you need to realize this from the beginning. It's going to take multiple calls, multiple meetings, multiple contact points. It can go more quickly, but you have to prepare for the long haul. You can't disclose too much at the initial meeting. You have to think about how to spread out what you want to say over time so as to advance the sales process.

Key questions to ask yourself as you get ready for that first meeting are:
  • what is the logical next step? Once you know this, you can evaluate all your other ideas in terms of how they contribute to that outcome
  • what do I need to share with this decision maker to entice him/her to learn more? Which stories and examples will have the strongest resonance with this buyer?
  • what do I need to learn about them to ensure my offering can make a valuable contribution? Selling consultatively means that you need to think through the questions you want to ask before you go on that meeting. Your ability to engage the people that you meet in an intelligent discussion of their business objectives, issues and needs will be crucial to your success

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