Recently I’ve been doing a bunch of media buying on behalf of my clients. Â The venues range from TV to print and include all sorts of features. Â Every single sales person has started the conversation off with, “it is vital for me to get to know my clients so I can offer them the very best solutions within their budget”. Â Every single one. Here’s the kicker – of 12 people I’ve seen in two weeks, FOUR of them don’t even know the kind of company I’m buying for! Â They walked out of the meeting without getting any information at all! Â Now that isn’t to say I didn’t get the information my customer needs because I did. But here’s what happened.
The meeting starts off with the standard statement and I do think every person I met with believes it. Â Then, with many of them, it is followed up with a complete spewing of all of their options. Â I let them because the only way I know to think outside the box is to know what box you are in so hearing about options that might on the surface not work for my client may turn out to be fantastic. Â But the sales people completely waste their time, look silly and don’t get the information to be able to follow up with me on new ways for my clients to advertise. Because they don’t know what would work.
So what should they do? Â Here’s a crazy idea – prep for the meeting, have questions ready, and then SHUT UP. It is endlessly frustrating to feel like I have to interrupt to talk about my client. Â So to my readers, I ask you to do the following before meeting a prospective client:
1. Â Know something about me. Â Don’t assume Â because you know my company name that I sell pedestals. Â The good news is it is all on my website!
2. Â Have some questions you prepared in advance that would help you match me to products. Â The best part is these can be standard questions you ask all your prospects! Â Write once, use often. Brilliant!
3. Â Ask me a question and then stop talking. Â Take notes instead. Â When you get back to your office, you should be able to say concrete facts about my business, my clients, and what I need. Â Test yourself by describing me to a co-worker. Â If you can tell real business information, you did a good job.
Only after doing these three things should you start to show me product. Â Showing me things that will meet my needs is great – I don’t waste my time and you look great. Â Once we get through the initial information, then you can pull out the other products to help me in the future or with other clients. Â But wait until you’ve presented the targeted stuff first.
Someday I’ll meet this sales person and will gush about them forever. Â In the mean time, if you see me at the coffee shop with my eyes glazed over, you’ll know it is another one so stop by!