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September 07, 2010


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Robert Middleton

To Charlie Lang,

I'm big on planning and rehearsing because this ultimately lets you be more spontaneous. You know the features and benefits of your service. You have answers to all their questions and objections. And you have a track to run on.

But that doesn't mean you're rigid; you're prepared.

Once you have that, you have real flexibility. In some cases you meet with the hope of selling a particular program or service. But it's true, that may not be what they need. So sometimes in a first meeting you really can't present anything, you have to go back and think and come back and talk some more.

Here's what we're finding in the Mastery Program. As people change their approach to selling, their close rate goes up and then offer much larger packages of services. They sell a complete solution based on business needs, not what the client "thinks" they need.

We also position the selling conversation as a valuable service. We are not there just to be sponges taking in everything the prospect says. We need to find out specific things: current situation, vision and goals, challenges and issues. It's rare that sales people go this deep.

I scheduled 90 minutes for me because that's what it usually takes. It might take more or less depending on what you're offering. But you never want to be rushed.

Cheers, Robert

Charlie Lang

Robert, I quite disagree with some of your points because they are 'old sales school' where the sales person has a strong focus on what s/he wants leading to reduced trust and potentially missing the point.


"... I have a plan. I know what I'm going to ask and what I'm going to say about my services. I know how much time I need.."
"... You need an outline and you need to rehearse."
"... I'll ask for 90 minutes..." (what if the topic doesn't need that kind of time? What if the client doesn't feel like meeting you for 90mins?)

While I 100% agree that planning is important, we found it to be much more successful to remain absolutely flexible and versatile in the conversation with the client because more often than not, the sales meeting may go into a totally unexpected direction because other stakeholders have other ideas than the one you have been talking to prior to the meeting. Its a BIG trap to have everything rehearsed because it's likely to throw you off course when things don't go as expected.

In my opinion it's much more important to remain focused on the best possible outcome for the client rather than my own. My own is taken care of as a result in most cases - of course, I might need to set some boundaries around price, etc.

I particularly like your point 5 though, especially for independent professionals: "... as if they had already paid you for the meeting and you were there to give them value immediately." I believe doing that is one of the main reasons for my very high closing rate (typically between 50-70%).

Rich Foss

Good morning, Robert,

Mistake number 9 hit home. A few months ago, I failed to work with a potential client to develop a proposal. Instead, I "threw it over the fence." Needless to say, it didn't work. Thanks for the tips.

Patricia Comolet

I'm just getting into selling conversations in the Fast Track and I appreciate the 9 mistakes because it allows me to focus on one or two points to start with. Mine will be visualising and practicing my presentation on my cat. I've found this type of rehearsal similar to writing my website which helped me tremendously to be more clear about how my coaching can help my clients.

Jinny Ditzler

Hi Robert,

Great pointers -- you nailed it!

I've made a copy of the blog to send to our partners as we enter our Best Year Yet Hot Selling Season. I've left all the links in and will recommend that they connect with you.

Does this work for you?

All the best, Jinny

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