You know those interesting conversations with prospects that end up going nowhere? Did you ever wonder what that’s about?
This is how it works. We’ve invested heavily in marketing activities of various kinds. We’ve finally got that meeting with a very important prospect. So, we polish our shoes the night before (this is a very important step), get up at some unearthly time, drive 2-hours on the motorway, give a strong handshake, build rapport, position our firm, talk good business for an hour.
Then the time is up. Our prospect has the next meeting to go to.
What do we do?
At this point we panic a bit, running out of time we close the meeting by suggesting we send the client some information, perhaps a proposal outlining what we might do together. That’s a mistake. The client nearly always politely says yes, as they usher us to their door. That’s a scenario most of us will recognise.
We go back to the office, remembering what an interesting conversation we had? Then write a 4-5 page proposal to the client about their business and our unique approach to process design … strategy … innovation … fill in the blank.
Then wait and wait. Then chase and chase.
We’ve all been there, We thought the client was ready to play, but they weren’t. All we did by suggesting a premature proposal was generate a whole load of unnecessary work for ourselves.
What’s happened is we’ve mistaken a marketing meeting for a sales meeting.
You see we got the client’s attention and developed some interest, but then we failed to pivot that interest into a sales specific conversation. Our job is to lead the client into the desire for us to do a project together. And, the first step to doing that is to identify a project that is urgent, important, and of value to the client personally.
Unless the client agrees to that we’re still marketing not selling.
So, what would a better meeting close be?
The bottom line:
Get real: Know your mode. Are you marketing or selling?
Get prepared: Practice questions that pivot the prospect into project discovery.
Get savvy: Rational needs and emotional wants before proposal delivery.
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