You scheduled a meeting with a strong Target account. You're excited about the meeting as this has the potential to be a big prospect, but when you arrive, the first thing you hear is “You have 10 minutes. What are you pitching me today?”
If you're in sales, this is something you have likely heard before… and it's frustrating to hear. Basically, the decision maker is saying “I’m busy and I don’t believe you will benefit me or my business in any way. So, I will give you 10 minutes to pitch me whatever package or product it is you are pushing… so you will go away.”
3 Problems in Your Sales Process
If you’ve been greeted by a prospect with this statement, the following are three serious problems with your sales process.
1) Failed Approach
Every interaction is an opportunity to set an expectation. If you put the focus on you and your product to secure the first meeting, without first establishing value, trust, and credibility, you set an expectation that the focus of your time together is all about you.
As a result, they're not expecting to have a conversation about their business, and the likelihood they will give you 45 minutes, or an hour of their valuable time is close to zero. If you want to have a conversation about their business, you must first establish a certain level of value, credibility, and trust as you work to secure that first meeting!
2) Ignorance is NOT Bliss
The notion “what I don’t know, won’t hurt me” does not apply to salespeople!
The exact opposite is true… doing your homework to learn about the prospect can get you through the door OR it will keep you knocking forever.
So, if you want to secure that first meeting, you need a Valid Business Reason that leads to real insights. Give them a reason to want to meet with you and that reason needs to be about their business NOT yours. If they believe you truly understand their business, they are more likely to believe that you can help them grow and/or solve some of their most challenging problems. That deserves way more than 10 minutes of their time!
3) Perception is Reality
High-performing salespeople know you don’t “pitch;” rather you collaborate with your clients to develop or tailor solutions based specifically on the business results they need along with their strategy and budget.
If you find yourself at the receiving end of this statement, you’ve likely done a poor job positioning yourself as a business partner who is committed to delivering a tailored proven solution. Pitchmen get 10 minutes; business partners are invited to the table again and again.
1 Quick Solution
At The Center for Sales Strategy, we work with salespeople across the country in multiple industries, and we know it’s tough out there… even for the most talented salespeople.
In order to stand out, establish credibility, earn trust, and showcase value, a salesperson must commit to the sales process. That means the willingness to prove their knowledge, value, credibility, and trustworthiness to their prospects.
A salesperson who can do those things early on will be able to regularly secure meetings, with prospects who block out the necessary time for a purposeful meeting. Prospects will view the meeting as valuable time to help them grow their business, rather than a distraction.
These salespeople will be greeted with, “It’s great to see you” instead of, “You have 10 minutes; what are you pitching me?”
Quick Thinking Solution: The next time you’re greeted by a prospect with, “You have 10 minutes to give me your sales pitch!” Don’t panic… and don’t pitch! Try responding with something like this:
“I completely understand you’re pressed for time and have an extremely busy schedule! I hear that from my clients pretty frequently. I don’t want to add any more pressure to your time today, so let’s schedule a time for me to come back when it’s better for you. Plus, I honestly don’t have anything to pitch you. I’m not here to sell you anything; I have expertise in (prospect’s industry), and I want to talk to you specifically about (insert details about their business, competition, sales, systems, processes, etc.). I have a few concepts/ideas/services I’d like to introduce you to that I think you’ll find interesting and valuable. I need about an hour of your time, and you have my word that it will be well worth it.”
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2014 and has since been updated.