Conflict in the Sales Meeting? No Problem!
Whether you are a sales professional, or you have assisted with a sales call or been on the receiving end of a technology sales pitch, you recognize smart sales pros when you see them.
It used to be that a prospect or customer expected to hear all about the product or service, and all the reasons that particular company was the best company to hire. The pitch was always focused on all the positive aspects of the deal and it always made the assumption that the customer would just love to do business with the company.
But, one thing I have learned over the years is that the best sales professionals are pessimistic!
While it is their goal to sell the product or service, they go into the sales meeting with the assumption that there are those on the prospect team that want to scuttle the presentation, and they are prepared with plenty of ammunition.
Sometimes, a prospect has an unspoken agenda. They might favor another company, or they might have heard something about your product or service that caused them to form a negative opinion.
They may not think their business needs ANY product or ANY service you have to offer. They may feel that old processes, products, services or techniques are just fine and that change is unnecessary.
So, in addition to knowing your product, your service and the needs of your prospect, you must also be prepared to counter the naysayers in the group – without being defensive, of course.
You must firmly, and positively present your case to get ahead of the skeptics and make your case before the question is even asked…before the argument is made.
Think of the sales meeting as making a preemptive strike! When it comes to sales, it is OK to be paranoid!
It is a good idea to anticipate the objections and bring them up before the prospect can take an offensive position and poke holes in your presentation.
Consider a statement like, “Some businesses might think that this product can’t possibly be that easy to customize”, or “Some customers believe our stated service levels can’t possibly be met”. These statements do not sound defensive but they do open the door for you to argue your case and present the facts before a prospect can go on the attack and scuttle your carefully planned presentation.
A great sales professional is always looking for the challenge or the healthy skeptic and isn’t afraid to fight the good fight.
If you are still hesitant to embrace this approach, consider the embattled coach in a press conference that follows a lost game, or the political spokesperson representing a leader. They go into each Q&A fully expecting to be challenged and pushed to the limit. But, if they become defensive, they lose their advantage. Craft your sales persona carefully and watch how the best of the best do their jobs. Then, go in there and get on the offensive to address the problem BEFORE it emerges. That is the way to make an impression and close a sale!
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