My grandmother used to say this a lot – you can’t sell if you don’t advertise. She meant it in every way – now in a smarketing role (sales + marketing) I find this expression to be timeless.
I will start by saying this – I was not always breakin’ necks and cashin’ checks or making deals in heels. In fact, it took time, skill, mentoring and (yes) learning to achieve it. The ability to walk in a room or join a call and ‘own it’is something I was always meant to do, but it needed to be nurtured.
Recently, a colleague asked for some sales advice (2 specific questions stood out) – it reminded me that I didn’t always have the answers, experience and the confidence that I do today.
Here are the top 2 things we chatted about.
Q: How do you walk in a room with clients and ‘own it’?
A: Let’s be honest, walking into a client preso, joining a con call or live meeting with client – can be tricky… things can go wrong – 800 #s may not connect, people may run late, and heck you may trip when you walk into that room and spill your coffee.
Today, the ability to navigate whatever craziness (or lack thereof) is thrown your way is a special skill.
Expect everything and nothing to happen at once. When you have good intros, jokes and comebacks to it; none of this will faze you. So start practicing all of the scenarios. Know this – nothing besides pizza and beer are good cold, so rehearse your pitch! There’s always a run-thru/rehearsal element to great experiences and sales pitches.
Be prepared for the client to be bored before you open your mouth.Clients are in a constant sea of ‘sameness’ – each pitch blurs into the next and nothing is unique. Everything that’s been done has been done before and the value prop of ‘why’ the deal makes sense is lost in a bunch of noise. So, they’re bored by design – stop that dead in its tracks, by doing something unexpected.
Stand out from the crowd, by being personable or telling a joke… show that you’re a human and not a robot (by action – this will set you apart). Many times clients put on their poker face – they are not expecting a human on the other end or ‘live’ in person to be interacting with them. By having a great opener or joke – it puts the client at ease and starts the oxygen flowing within the room.
For me – having an Asian last name throws people off… my clients in person (if they haven’t researched me socially) are expecting an Asian chick to show up (literally many have said this). Immediately they’re confused when I enter – I have fully just leaned into this, I play off their expectation and let them know I’m Shann Peng (pronounced ‘champagne’), and they can call me that… it makes them chuckle and it starts a good pace for what we’ll be talking about.
So, next time you’re prepping for a meeting – think what would spark up convo, make that client think ‘hmm’ that’s different, I’d like to listen to what they have to say and go for it.
Q: How do you avoid getting stuck in rabbit holes?
A: Rabbit holes are absolutely no fun – maybe the client loves putting you in one, but it’s your job to spot holes and be absolutely 100% rabbit hole free when you go into #BEASTMODE during your pitch.
First, before you go into pitch – get mentally ready… listen to some music, go grab a coffee, do some squats or jumping jacks – just BE ready. It’s your job to go all in and make magic happen for the prospect or client. If you fail to start strong, the odds are against you in getting ahead and essentially, out your self-inflicted rabbit hole.
Start by following the advice above on how to own the conversation; you’ll have sparked the clients’ interest and a ‘hole free’ zone is just ahead. I’ve found that most prospects and clients have specific questions they’re going to ask regardless of the occasion, so I always have those answers ready and then there’s the guaranteed ‘curveball’ they all ask.
The constant curveball I see –is a request for customization to a non-custom aspect of the product/solution/service/process. Depending on what you’re selling – you need to know the parameters of what is possible (or at least be willing to push those limits to get the deal done) and if you don’t have a way to overcome this objective – find one.
We all love to put ‘our stamp’ on things – so just begin to expect this from your clients vs. not. Because we all know they are going to ask.
Once you can open the meeting with a boom, overcome objectives and curveballs – you’re probably thinking you’re out of the woods…well, you’re not because the most important part is now approaching AND THAT IS – HOW MUCH, HOW SOON, AND WHEN DO I SEE ROI.
(How much) Do your homework – be versed in what you are charging and what the going rate for your product/service/solution is. (How soon) Be ready to let the client know when you can start up – some things you’ll sell are easy and straight-forward, others not so much – whichever it is, have a good response that shows the client confidence and ease of use. (ROI) I’ve always felt ROI as a term is used like ‘bless you’ – everyone says it by reaction and because they were trained to ask; but not necessarily because they understand it. So, have your data points ready and how you (or client) will measure this metric and report back.