I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to conduct a successful sales meeting with a procurement team or procurement person. In a recent episode of Negotiations Ninja, I outlined the ins and outs of a successful sales meeting. What happens once you secure that first meeting? What do you say? How do you set it up?
To start, it is essential to ask good questions and actively listen to the responses. Prepare questions ahead of time so they can be administered properly. Many of us think we’re going to remember everything we want to address in a meeting – that is not the case. It is crucial to write down questions before each meeting. Most importantly, keep questions open-ended – each question should start with a “what”, “why”, or “how.” For example, “What are the challenges you’re facing? How are those challenges affecting your business? Why do you suppose you’re experiencing those challenges?” Have at least five open-ended questions prepared that will generate conversation.
The key is to listen to the answers. People get caught up in asking the next question and forget to actually listen. The amount of information missed by not listening is staggering. Find out what motivates your audience and what will drive them to negotiate a deal. Take notes on what is said.
It is important you don’t just sit and talk about your service or product; that looks lazy. Rather, work on implementing good posture that portrays confidence. You’re not only presenting your product or service, but you’re also presenting yourself. Procurement people see hundreds of sales presentations every year – most of them do not stand out. You will stand out if you’re prepared and if you deliver your pitch well. It is crucial we can actually recall and retain the information we are presenting. Make sure you know the information you’re presenting, don’t just read off a slide deck. You need to connect with your audience. Each person in the room needs to be able to identify with you in some way. If you’re not prepared, don’t bother coming to the meeting.
Even if you are prepared, be ready to have your presentation derailed. Procurement people are going to ask you lots of complicated questions. Do not just make up answers. Write them down and get back to them. Procurement people do this for fun. It sucks, but it’s true.
Lastly, do not leave your meeting without a plan to close the next step. It’s a critical opportunity for you to get the next meeting. Do not wait for the procurement person to make the next move. Make yourself prepared and get closer to your goal.
It’s pretty cut and dry – it’s really about being prepared and ensuring you actually show up and do the presentation properly. I know it seems simple, but often the simplest things are the hardest to implement.
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