How much you know about your prospect will be in direct correlation to your chance of success.
1. Prospect Knowledge & Market Intelligence:
What you know about the target or prospect will allow you to select the most effective language, visual cues, evidence, and concepts. So gather as much information as you can. For example are they are Analytical type people. They will like the evidence set out in a logical manner based on figures & numbers, perhaps in table or matrix form. Or if they are Driver types who will want you to highlight the salient point, from their standpoint, and to show them the final cost based on the quantity they purchase. Be prepared to adjust your style to suit theirs.
2. Why did they agree to take the meeting?
It may be your charm or your persistence. But it may also be that their present supplier is having trouble meeting their commitment. It could equally be that they have a new MD and he wants to review all the present suppliers and their Service Level Agreements. Or is it another reason that you are unaware of? It is important you fully understand the background situation as this will determine your approach, how you intend demonstrate you can meet their needs.
The first scenario is a great opportunity, because it is not about price, but your ability to supply. The second is about delivery and service. But your task, prior to the appointment, is to find out why the prospect has agreed to your meeting.
3. What is the corporate decision making process?
Do you fully understand the corporate decision making process? Are you meeting their key decision maker. You may be meeting the MD but often the Finance Director will be asked for their opinion. So are you prepared to ask for another meeting? Or would it be better to try and include the Financial Director? Does your target/prospect company have a strict buying process? (Many large corporates do, as do as government bodies) Do you meet all of the criteria e.g.size, both geographic and turnover? Can you show them the relevant credentials they need? For many organisations ISO900, grievance and HR policies are mandatory for suppliers. Also, what is their sales cycle and its length? If you know the answers to these questions you won’t fall into the trap of annoying your one contact by phoning daily to see if he has had the green light to sign your contract. In understanding these stages, and sundry others, you will demonstrate to your contact that you understand their business and how your proposal is appropriate to their needs.
4. Do they have prejudices or customs you need to be aware of?
This is often code for rivalry. Think Pepsi Vs Coca Cola; Ford Vs General Motors. It could be also be about how a company is proud of its centralised buying process rather than its rival’s policy of allowing local sourcing of suppliers. Anyway, be aware organisations can be corporately prejudiced. And it happens more often than you think. Make sure you are aware of it and avoid mentioning the company’s rival and certainly don’t disparage them, even if the prospect does.
5. Why does your prospect think you are having a meeting?
There can often be a disparity between why you think you are meeting a prospect and why they think you are meeting.
They think you are a journalist and wanting to interview them. But you actually want to sell advertising. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter how they got this wrong, but if it is not corrected they will feel that they have been duped that it was your fault.
You can avoid this simply by making sure you check this before you launch into your pitch. You can do this by saying up front in the meeting why you called them and what you would like to discuss. They still may not buy from you but they will not resent you.
For further information regarding finding new customers email me or call me, Shaun Brailsford on 07792 062662