Sometimes, you are certain you have the right strategy to help a potential client solve its business problems, and yet you cannot convey the value clearly enough. In spite of your best intentions, you let the sale slip through your fingers. Michael Zipursky writes with three steps to employ during the interview with the client so that you never lose a sale again:
- Build rapport with the buyer.
- Enter the sales conversation.
- Present the offer and next steps.
Pitching Clear Value
Clients are human beings first, so before you jump hard into business talk, you might want to spend just a few minutes on idle chatter. You can break the ice and make a quick connection with someone through topics sometimes as generic as the weather or asking from where a person hails. As long as you are genuine and stick to topics that actually interest the client, rapport will be created.
After that comes the real sales conversation. Success here often boils down to the questions you ask. Asking the right questions and phrasing them in the right way makes you look insightful and helps you arrive at the proper solution for a client’s problem faster. When you have identified the client’s real problem and understand how much value your expertise can introduce to the situation, you can make the judgement call of whether it is right to pitch an offer of services.
If you have asked the right questions, some clients might be eager to work with you right away. At the very least, they might request a formal proposal from you. In any case, it is crucial at the end of the interview to schedule next steps:
A BIG mistake some consultants make is to end a conversation with the buyer and not schedule next steps. NEVER end a meeting or call with a buyer without some agreed to next steps. It may be another call in a few days or a meeting the following week. Schedule the day and time of the next step.
If you don’t do this you’ll end up spending a great deal of time going back and forth trying to nail down another time to continue the conversation…this often results in telephone tag and voicemail vortex (yes I think I just made that up!) that you can’t seem to get out of.
Avoid a vortex and just get it right the first time. You can read the original post here: http://www.consultingsuccess.com/consulting-sales-rapport-building-vs-making-the-sale