It is important that, during a sales meeting, you stay in control. There are a number of ways to do this but starting off on the right footing, building the right rapport, being genuine and human with your prospect will go a long way. Watch as Larry Sharpe outlines the best way to open a sales meeting and steer the conversation into your pitch.

Video Transcript

Hi, it’s Larry Sharpe at Neo-Sage and I’m here to tell you about how to start a sales meeting. Now, usually when you meet someone in their office or if they come to your office, it isn’t for the first time. Often you’ve either talked to them on the phone, chatted with them through e-mail, or met them at an event. Somehow this almost like a second intro, right?

So, when you go to that second intro, there are certain things that you should start thinking about. And the first thing is when you walk in that door, you want to set the tone. And you set the tone by saying something positive. It doesn’t matter what you say. You can walk in the door and say “Wow! You know, your assistant, she’s really polite.” You can walk in the door and say “This building is amazing!” You could say “I used to live out here and play stick ball in the streets.” That’s if you’re a New Yorker, right? You don’t do that in Oklahoma, I don’t think so, any case. So you can say something positive and something human when you first start the sales meeting. It may seem cheesy, but then don’t be cheesy, unless you are cheesy. I want you to be you. Say something that you would say to be positive and be human when you start this sales meeting.

Now, prospects often say, “Have a seat.” “Tell me about your stuff.” “Tell me this, tell me that.” And when they do that, we fall right in. We go “Okay, yeah, sure, absolutely. Let me get my stuff out. Let me show you, let me do this.” I want you to NOT to do that. I want you to acknowledge whatever they say with something polite like “Okay” or “I hear you” or “Uh-huh” or “I understand”. Anything that you would say naturally, to say to them “I heard what you said”. And once you do that, still go in to your positive message, your positive phrase, your positive sentence no matter what. So, you walk in the door and they say “You got 5 minutes, tell me about your goods.” And you go, “Sure, of course. You know your receptionist, she’s polite. Where’d you get her?” Great. In this case though, this person really wants you to snap it up. They go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. She’s wonderful. Have a seat. Come on, you only got 10 minutes.” They’re very aggressive, very forward, they want stuff done now. That happens sometimes. They’re trying to commoditize you, right? Because it’s their best interest to commoditize you but you have to stop them, you have to make yourself human. So, the positive piece is the first step.

The second step is, I want you to try to give at least one sentence on something other than business. Now people will tell you, look around the room, find the baseball on his desk and say “Oh you like baseball? Me too!” That’s NOT what I want you to do, especially if that person sees a lot of sales reps. If the person you’re talking to gets pitched to often, every single person who walks into his office, saw the baseball and said, “Oh you like baseball. Me too!” Don’t do that, instead talk about something that you like. Mention how the weather is nice, mention how your baseball or football team did well, if you think the person maybe a sports fan. Talk about something that happened to your life, a place you went to, some place you visited, any of those types of things. I know what you might say, “Well Larry, what if I say something he doesn’t like? What if I like football, he likes baseball or I went to the beach and he hates the beach?” It doesn’t matter. All I want you to be is human. I would rather him NOT like what you said but, see you as a person versus see you as a commodity and maybe like the baseball analogy you make, but because every other sales rep makes a baseball analogy, he’s made you a commodity, you’re another sales rep. Remember, you want to be human. It’s easy for someone to dismiss a sales rep. It’s not easy to dismiss a human being. So, try at least one sentence.

And, the reverse might happen. You might open up on the beach that you went to last weekend and he loves the beach, he can’t stop talking about the beach. And you’re sitting there talking and chatting and you think, “Wow! I’m winning.” You are NOT winning. If you spend 20 minutes or half an hour talking about the beach, by the time you get to pitch, he’s going to be like “Oh, this is great. What’s the price now?” You give him the price, thinking that you’ve won, but you built no value and you still loose the deal. So, the goal is one sentence on something that makes you human, go back and forth a little bit to show that you’re also a person, not just another sales rep, and then go into your questions.

Now, often once you’ve done this, you’ve said something positive, you started a quick conversation, the prospect says “Okay, great. So where’s your deck or where’s your PowerPoint or where is your this or that? Show me the goods. What’s your proposal? How much do these costs?” Whatever they say to move things forward. They sit back and wait for the PowerPoint presentation you’ve got. You’re NOT going to do any of that. No matter what they say or do, you’re going to say “Oh, I got it, good. Okay, great. Power point? Sure. Can I ask you a couple of quick questions?” That is how you’re going to start your pitch, with asking them a few questions. You’ll take control and ask the questions.

Even if they say “Tell me how much this cost. Tell me what the price is.” I’m going to give you an interesting tip here. If the person’s pushing you “Tell me the price.” And you say, “Absolutely, hundred percent. Can I ask you a couple of quick questions?” Then they say, “No! Give me the price.” “Got it. Can I ask you a couple of quick questions?” “What? You can’t give me the price?” If they do that, quote them the highest price you possibly can quote. I’m not joking. The highest price you possibly can quote. Because they’re trying to commoditize you. If you are so far out of the box, so high, one of two things will happen. They’ll say “You’re too expensive.” They were going to say that anyway, you saved everybody some time. Or they’re going to say “Huh. Why are you so expensive?” Now you can pitch. So either way, it’s the right answer.

If someone is fighting you to give them the price and they won’t let you show them any value, give them a very high price. Either they’ll say that you’re too high, (which they were going to say that anyway) or they’ll ask why and now you can pitch.

Remember, just because they want to see your goods right away, don’t show them. You’re going to take control. Say something positive, be human, ask questions. Now, you’ve started your meeting the right way. Good luck.