When I worked as a sales executive many moons ago, I remember being on the receiving end of prospective consultants pitching their services to our company.
Unfortunately, nine times out of 10, these smart, savvy, forward-thinking folks wouldn’t get much further than, “Hi Kim, I’m here today to talk to you about x, y, z service I can offer…”
That was never music to my ears. Not only did that approach show that the person hadn’t done their homework, but that they were more interested in what they had to offer INSTEAD OF the value they could bring to the table as a Trusted Advisor.
First impressions count, right from the first outreach through to closed deal. In fact, if you don’t act as a Trusted Advisor right from the start, you’ll be giving your prospective client the impression that you won’t be consistent in your communications and your work with them if they actually hire you.
So…let’s say you’ve secured a first Discovery Meeting with a corporate decision maker.
Now here’s where the “rubber hits the road”
This juncture is your SINGLE, BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY to knock it out of the park.
Because, at the end of the day, sales happen as a result of conversations, and a series of great consultative conversations.
And like I said, the first impression counts.
I have a HUGE network of corporate executive contacts who they tell me how time and again they’ve also had the same experience I did – over 80% of consultant pitches falling flat because they weren’t properly prepared.
This is because consultants do one or all of the following things that sabotage their efforts:
1. Walk into a discovery meeting completely unprepared, with a “wing it” attitude and a blank pad of paper.
Never EVER, EVER do this! Think about it from the client’s perspective: Wouldn’t you feel pretty frustrated and disrespected if you made time in your busy schedule to listen to someone who hadn’t done their homework?
To make maximum impact, I recommend you:
a) Check your prospect out on Linked In. What does their career path look like? Take notes and develop a series of powerful questions you can bring to the meeting. This will help you learn what’s important to your prospect and will effectively nurture the relationship along.
b) Study the company website. Take more than a few passing moments to complete your review. Check to see what kind of thought leadership they have, e.g. blogs, white papers, etc. What other insights can you glean from challenges they could be experiencing?
c) Did someone refer you to your prospect? If so, make sure you tap that person for some extra intel around the potential client’s business.
Lesson here? Prepare a BIG LIST of questions in advance of any discovery meeting. Then bring those questions with you and have them right in front of you in the meeting!
2. Start the meeting without a structured opening.
You’re the one in control and the person who has the floor. If you dive in without your objective planted firmly in your mind, you risk going off track and ending up wasting a good deal of the prospective client’s time.
Instead, make sure you:
Whatever you do, DO NOT skip this step. It’s a crucial one for ensuring you’re putting your best foot forward!
3. Make the meeting all about you. The first Discovery meeting is NEVER about you – it’s all about the prospective customer.
Keep this top of mind, act accordingly, and you’ll be ahead of 80% of others calling on corporate!
Be the consultant you’d want to hire.
Do all these things and see how your results change for the better!
Kim Chernecki helps high-performing freelance executives, consultants, coaches and other experts, land lucrative corporate contracts. She is the creator of the Land Corporate Contracts Fast-Track System, and is a top-rated sales performance executive, facilitator, coach, advisor, speaker and strategist. A 25-year entrepreneur, Kim has consulted with executives from 100+ leading North American and Fortune 1000 companies and has, herself, started up and helped grow 10 businesses and business divisions. She’s closed millions of dollars in corporate contracts, and provides powerful strategies and proven formulas to help her clients do the same.