Recently I experienced a prime example of the importance of reading the room. It was an end of day meeting, our 2nd with the client, and all decision makers were present. It could not have gone better. There were no rolled eyes, no glances at the clock, and NO folded arms for the entirety of the meeting. We presented our price, all bodies slid forward, and not one gave a dissatisfaction signal. So, I did what any old closer would do...I asked for the business. We got our verbal YES and we were back to the office before traffic stalled to write up the final pricing, send relevant referrals and a sample MSA. What a BIG win right before the New Year I thought…until the phone rang the next day and we were invited out again to discuss in painstaking detail (2 hours to be exact) the 3 line items we glossed over in the previous meeting.
How did this happen?
I did not read EVERYONE in the room correctly. You see, a 3rd party consultant was invited to the sales process from the beginning. We were selling technology, and the aforementioned consultant was one of the brighter technology minds I had met in my tenure. Fortunately, my brilliant technology guru was onsite with me. The first meeting we held with this prospect was 60 minutes of hard technical aptitude grilling led by the consultant in which (his words, not mine) we passed with flying colors. So, I arrogantly assumed we’d won him over, dismissed his involvement in the proposal/final meeting, and thought all that was left was to present value to the decision team in order to secure this large piece of business.
I was wrong.
We crawled back to their office, were grilled even harder than the first meeting, and honestly thought for a moment we’d lost what we thought only a day ago we had won. We ended up winning the business but only because my technical team is exceptional and our service/offering (verified by the provided referrals that they also grilled) is that much better than the industry norm. It was not because I did my job correctly, and thus, this is what I learned from this experience ::
- Treat every member of the decision team like you would the CEO; they are in the room for a reason and you never know what their position truly is in the decision process until the contract is inked.
- ALWAYS look each team member in the eye after a point is shared to verify that what you just presented is valuable to them and unequivocally solves the need you were invited in to cure.
- Deals are lost when continuous qualification does not follow the ENTIRE sales cycle. You qualified them in the beginning to make sure they had budget, a reason to act and timeline in which they need to do so correct? Why stop halfway through?
- If you want to close more deals faster, always ask if what you are sharing provides clear resolve to their need and confirm that there is nothing you have said/haven’t said that would keep you from winning their business every chance you get.
- NEVER assume. Nothing kills sales advancement quicker than guessing. If the prospect has not given you a hard yes or no for any/all of your asks then you simply have no clue what they are thinking. Don’t find out the hard way - directly ask for the answers you seek.
I hope this article was helpful, please feel free to reach out to us for any revenue growth needs you may have. Till next time, happy selling!