If you're selling to big companies, it's highly likely that you've succumbed to this most fatal of all sales mistakes. It's not that you meant to, but those darn corporate buyers suck you into making it before you even know what's happening.
You start out the meeting, focused on their business. Leaning back in your chair with a notepad on your lap and a pencil in hand, you transition as quickly as you can to asking questions.
You ask about their goals, strategic imperatives, trends in the market and the challenges they're facing.
And before you know it, they set the trap for you. With a feigned look of genuine interest they say, "So tell me about your product/service" or "I've heard you're using some new, exciting technology."
Or with a proper look of frustration or with indignation in their voices they spit out, "We've had problems in that area" or "We're not happy with our current supplier."
You can't believe what you're hearing. Inside, that little voice is screaming, "At last, I've found someone who is interested. They want to learn more about what I have to offer. Hurrah!"
But you try to remain as calm, cool and collected as you can. Slowly, nonchalantly you lean forward. Perhaps you pause momentarily to extract a brochure or sample from your briefcase. Then your forward momentum continues till you're leaning in toward your prospect at about a 45-degree angle.
You smile and begin your description. They ask you more in-depth questions. You respond. They want to know how you handle particular types of situations. You tell them.
They want to know how much it costs. You begin to fidget. You give a range. They want more specifics. You suggest additional meetings to explore their needs in more depth. They don't have the time. They ask for your collateral. You give it to them.
You're dead. It's all over. You're totally at their mercy now and there's nothing you can do.
So what's one single thing you could have done to prevent this whole scenario from happening? It's so simple, you won't believe it. It's so disgustingly easy to correct, you'll beg for something more complex.
All right. I'll tell you.
You LEANED FORWARD!
The moment you did that, you moved out of being a consultative person intent on helping your client improve their business.
At that moment, you became a huckster - someone more focused on giving the product/service spiel than anything else. You shared what they wanted to hear and you were now unnecessary. And no matter what your product or service cost, it was too much.
So how can you prevent this from happening? Don't lean forward. It's that easy.
But what if you suffer from that pernicious problem of premature explanation? Then what?
As soon as you realize it, stop talking and put any brochures back out of sight.
Look your prospect right in the eyes and with a smile on your voice say, "I'm sorry. Sometimes I get so darned excited about our new offering/technology/system. It's more important right now to focus on your business - and to find out if this even makes sense."
Then ask another question. Or two or three. You've self-corrected and you're back on track. That's all it takes!