While all are eager to transform sales calls into a fully-fledged proof of concept, it’s important to come to the table with a process in place to ensure both you and your client are getting the most out of the ensuing discussion.
In this post, we look at 10 of the critical points to consider during these initial meetings. This will help to maximise understanding, promoting positive client/vendor interactions, thereby enhancing outcomes.
1. Some initial points to consider include:
- Are you asking the hard questions and getting the right answers?
- Who is ultimately responsible for making the decisions in your company?
- What is your budget for the proposal? Is this enough to make the project a viable one?
- How important is this project for your ongoing work and future success?
- What is the time frame for its implementation?
- Is this your main priority or are there other things that are more pressing?
In short, it is important to be transparent both with your staff and prospective clients. By re-evaluating the above, a project is more likely to stay on track.
2. Don’t spread yourself and your staff too thinly over too many projects. It is better to focus on a promising, individual opportunity than to cast your net too wide and test your resources, ideas, and energy to their limit. Decide which of your projects is the most promising, identify which has the most realistic chance of success, and focus, focus, focus!
3. Don’t dwell on perceived negatives. Getting a hard ‘no’, but getting it quickly, is still a positive. You have reached an outcome without wasting time and have engaged with a client. Move on quickly, get in touch with more prospective clients and keep looking for new leads and opportunities. You can always circle back around and contact those who have turned you away again at a later date. Circumstances are ever evolving and, with the passage of time, a partnership could become viable.
4. Knowledge is essential. Don’t make assumptions. Rather, ask questions. Find out what a potential client’s current line of business is and ascertain what steps are being taken to achieve set goals. Take time to identify current pain points and issues that are standing in the way of realizing these goals. Always encourage questions and foster collaborative lines of enquiry.
5. By all means have material prepared, aids to presentation can be beneficial but don’t get obsessed by it. It’s not the be all and end all and you don’t have to get through it all to be successful. Be flexible and fluid and allow the conversation to flow organically. Let lines of enquiry put forward by the client guide you and follow where it goes, but ensure you get your key points across.
6. Communication and understanding are paramount. To this end, it can be extremely beneficial to stop talking and listen to identify what is really important and what is needed going forward.
7. Success comes in many forms. Through effective communication, we formulate and construct a Proof of Concept that works for you, demonstrating the feasibility of your product idea or business plan.
8. Proof of Concept and contracts don’t come overnight. They take time; sometimes a long time. So ask yourself the tough questions again and be truthful with yourself. Are you really in a position to do this now?
9. Accountability is key. Identify clear steps towards progression while ensuring the project team understands who is responsible for bringing them to fruition. Create a culture of ownership and accountability, and hold each other accountable throughout the project. That being said, ensure that the goals you set are manageable and achievable. Continuously succeeding by reaching the goals being set will bring about a positive feeling for all involved and ensure the entire project feels like it is moving forward successfully.
10. When following this path the real key is to not waste time. Act swiftly and with purpose towards achieving your goals.
Following these steps will ensure that both you and your clients are getting the most out of your time together, no matter what the final decisions are. Practice will definitely make perfect here; the more meetings you have, the better you will get at recognising the signals your clients are sending you, and tailoring your reactions to them.
If you are looking for a data management partner, and would like to book a meeting to learn more about our data management platform, start the process today and request a demo.