Cross CoachingTM July 22, 2015
Lead by: Mark Cano Theme: “Getting out of our own way”
Guest writer: Ana Maria Marin – Instructor, Technical Writer & Translator (Peter Gibson is still in Europe!)
This week’s topic emerged out of Mark’s reflections on our previous Cross CoachingTM event which helped members think about how often they should evaluate their business. Today Mark asked us to evaluate how conscious we are about being ‘on our way or in our way’ when conducting business. His question was “How often do you get in your own way with your clients?” Meaning… “When you are not in the moment and are talking so much that you stop listening. Do you notice when that happens? Do you catch yourself? If you do, how do you prevent it?”
Mark had our attention and continued. “At what point do you become conscious enough – if at all – to notice that you may be overwhelming your potential client with too much information? When did you shift from thinking you were ‘on your way’ or on the right track with this client, to realizing you were getting ‘in your way’ and the potential client was far from ever becoming one?”
Monika, who develops custom websites, jumped right in and said that she used to do that. She didn’t notice until one of her partners pointed it out to her after a meeting with a client. She felt compelled to not only review her qualifications but her teams too. And discuss every detailed solution they could offer to the client. She explained everything without noticing that the conversation stopped and she was the only one in it.
Mark asked her why she felt compelled to do that, saying “if you are already meeting with clients they are already interested in your services.”
Before Mark could continue I jumped in. I didn’t address what was really on my mind – that a lot of women feel they need to justify their position more than men do (which has been a hot debate in this group many times), instead I suggested Monika do more work before meeting clients to improve the potential clients understanding of her and her team, so actual meeting time could be more efficient.
Monika and I relate to each other because we both work in highly technical fields. We have shared some tips over time. The questions that Mark asked, I have discussed with my advisors to grow as a business owner myself. I will admit discussing them has not been easy, but it has been worth it.
Monika told the group that her appointments often lasted as long as 2 hours. She agreed that most of the items covered could be presented more effectively ahead of the meeting.
To calm the debate Gerry, our sales master, said that the sales plan is different for each person, product and service. Everyone agreed. Gerry used website designers as an example. In general, in his opinion, they were not asking the correct questions up front. Gerry and his wife Toni had been looking for a website designer with very specific criteria. It took too long to find the right one but the search was worth it.
Mark responded by saying “you need to be in front of the conversation instead of being reactive to it. You are always in the process of selling, whether you are selling a vacation or large purchase with your spouse, negotiating recreation options with your kids or selling products or services to clients. The sooner you understand the sales and negotiation process the easier it will be for you.”
Gerry added, “you should go into a meeting with the customer ready to sign the order.”
I suggested Monika review and evaluate everything discussed in the complete sales cycle. Those questions that are asked repetitively on either side of the negotiating table should go on a FAQ page on her website. A personalized presentation could be sent in advance to show the potential customer; perhaps a survey to complete before the meeting. All this can reduce the sales meeting time, eliminate overwhelming the customer with information and as Mark put it: “get to the sale sooner.”
Monica Scott, a business lawyer visiting Cross Coaching™ for the first time, felt that her sales presentations became an opportunity for people to take advice from her for free. She understands, now, why most of her competitors will charge for the initial consultation; they can screen people out and keep the potential real customers. Early on in her business, she felt compelled to share tips to prove she had the knowledge and the skills to help her customers. Now she has a track record so she no longer needs to prove anything to anyone for free.
Mark prodded us to think more often when we make sales presentations about being ‘on the way, not in the way’. He suggested we ask ourselves “at what point do I stop working on my weaknesses so I can concentrate on my strengths”. Make sure you stay conscious and monitor yourself when presenting to clients so that you operate from a position of strength and catch yourself if you are talking too much, for example, or have lost the rapport, or connection you thought you had built – so you don’t get in the way of what the client may already want to purchase from you!
Mark summarized the take-aways for us:
– Listen more and talk less, be specific and concise with the information you want to share.
– Not having a process in place, puts you in a place where you will get in the way of making a sale!
– Be conscious of your strengths and stay on course, to eliminate the weaker possibility of getting off course.
– Establish a relationship that eases delivery of the facts. It’s not what you say but how you say it.
So…good luck on all your future presentations. I know you will no longer get in the way of making a sale, but be on the way to many more of them!
Guest writer: Ana Maria Marin – Instructor, Technical Writer & Translator