What the HELL am I Doing Here?
This is no existential discussion about our purpose here on earth. We can go into that in another blog post, or perhaps another blog altogether. No, today we are talking about landing a meeting with a coveted company, and what happens during and after said meeting. Bear with me, here.
Last week, I had a great session with one of the teams that I coach. The newest rep had just gotten done telling a story about how she got a meeting with a very prominent theater company here in Chicago. Present at the meeting were members of its marketing and promotions teams—high-level people. They definitely have need for the kinds of printing services that her company produces.
Everything was looking good so far. But, she also discovered that the team is covered in vendors that its members like and use on a regular basis. So her question to me and the group was, “Now what? How do I follow up? How do I get business from them?”
Good questions, right? Well, here’s another one.
What the hell was your pupose for being there in the first place?
If they have a broker that can presumably produce just about anything for them and a stable of capable vendors to serve them, why did they take the time to meet with someone new? Was she just that charming and professional on the phone? Maybe.
But come on, these are BUSY people. Everyone is busy, and not in the habit of dropping an hour out of the day just out of curiosity. There was a bigger reason why she was invited to come in and meet with the team. And here’s my point.
She should have found out what it was!
After she told me the story, I asked her, “What the hell were you doing in that room?” Dead silence.
So in an environment of teaching and support [which is how I deal with all my clients, of course], I simply said, “You have to know why you are there. Especially in a case like this. So the takeaway is, next time ask.”
“Yes, ask.” And here’s how.
After all of the information about their fantastic vendor relationships was revealed, the meeting could have gone something like this:
“Well Mr. and Ms. fabulous theater marketing people, we’ve all discovered new information today. You have learned that my company is well positioned to bring you some fresh ideas about how to make your new season a success, and I have learned about the kinds of projects that you have done in the past, what is coming up and also that you have a lot of trusted vendors at your disposal.
“So please forgive me for being blunt, but what I am doing here? Maybe a better way to say it is, Where do I fit in? I am confident that we can have some real impact in how you do things and get you some dazzling materials in a way that you haven’t done before. How can we make that happen?”
Too many of you are telling me that you manage to get the meetings, but then nothing comes of them. I have a suspicion that the reason for that is we are really not getting to the heart of the matter, and we are not CLOSING.
So once again I’ll tell you to be BOLD. You have nothing to lose and a new customer to gain. Is it risky? Maybe. Might you offend someone? Perhaps. But you also might just demonstrate to a new prospect that you are the kind of confident, assertive person that they NEED to do business with.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.