In firms everywhere, there are Tums being consumed in mass quantities because attorneys, business development personnel and marketers are nervously preparing for client sales pitches. There are thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars at stake.
We hope we’ll be successful…
- If only we say just the right thing
- If only we give them the best brochure we have
- If only we re-write our bio to demonstrate the quality of our most recent work
- If only we assemble the right team of high-profile professionals to make an impression
- If only we wow them in the presentation by talking about our experience
- If only we craft the best sales pitch in the world
I have good news for you. You can now stop buying Tums in mass quantities. You don’t need them any more.
Here’s what you do need:
- You need to learn as much as you can about your potential client’s business.
- You need to take off your armor, and go in with a sense of vulnerability.
- You need to stop loading up brochures with 100 pages of your experience.
- You need to stop focusing only on what you are going to say when you get there.
- You need to listen.
How does that work?
- It works if we remember that clients don’t want to hear a “pitch” when you first meet with them.
- It works if you remember they just want you to listen to them.
- It works if you focus on understanding them and their issues before you offer the first solution or credential.
Back when I was in sales with L. M. Berry, now The Berry Company, I was trained on the “two-call concept.” I would visit my potential clients and clients the first time for a pure relationship-building and fact-finding experience.
It was my mission to:
- Really get to know them
- Find out what they were like
- What kind of personality they had
- What kind of business they like to run
- What their issues were
- What they were proud of in their business
- What they wanted people to know about
- …and many other pieces of information that make up a lasting client relationship.
Only after I spent this time with them, and had taken copious notes, a process that I still carry with me today, was I qualified to offer solutions. There is no way I would have been able to prepare materials and people, not to mention a sales presentation, had I not first invested the time in them that they deserved.
Was I successful all the time? Of course not, but that will happen. There will be times when your potential clients decide you aren’t the right fit for them. There could be numerous reasons for this, but don’t ever let it be that you created a “Sales Pitch” that was premature and uninformed.
Take the time to get to to know them, and remember that the key to selling is to stop selling.
The best client sales pitch in the world is not a pitch after all, but the intersection of what you have first discovered about your clients with an in-depth, face-to-face conversation, and what you know to be your solutions to what they have told you. It then continues with another conversation that helps your clients understand that you know them better than anyone else they’ve spoken with, and that you have solutions that will help protect them, and solve their issues.
It’s a much more natural approach, and a lot less stressful for you and them.