I've said it many times: if we don't take control of our sales meetings (or calls) and run through things using a system that works well for us, we're relying on however the person we're talking to wants to do things - and that ain't great!
If you don't have a system for selling you'll always be at the mercy of your prospect's system for buying.- David Sandler
We have a process that works (Sell by Helping #represent) so we're covered on the system side of things.
But what do you do when the prospect comes in guns blazing, and you don't actually get a chance to follow your process?
This can happen easily, especially when you're introverted. You've got the combo of a person with a big personality (especially when you're dealing with business owners), who have some basic questions they want answers to, and your own need to be polite.
On one hand, if you don't take control, you're going to have a really shit sales meeting. On the other, you don't really want to get into some sort of weird ego battle over who's running the meeting.
So how do we do this? Well, here's a few quick things to think about that just might help.
While the person you're talking to might have used a service like yours a few times, you do this for a freaking living. You're way more of an expert than they are, you have a process that works, and you're totally qualified to run the show.
I'm not saying this is something you tell them, I'm saying you need to understand and truly believe this, because if you don't - they won't either!
If you understand you're the expert, it makes it much easier to justify following YOUR process over THEIR process.
What makes you say they have control?
Because they're asking all the questions, you're the one answering them.
When you're asking the questions, you get to direct the meeting. When they're asking the questions, they direct the meeting.
So naturally, if you want to take control of the meeting you will need to shift so you're the one asking the questions.
You could just start asking questions, but that can sometimes be a bit weird if they're already asking questions. So what else can you do?
Yes, taking control of a meeting is as easy as asking the other person if you can do that. Don't forget, you're the expert (point 1). They're probably going to be more than happy to go through the process the expert recommends.
Sometimes just asking "do you mind if I ask you a few questions" can be enough. Sometimes you might want to frame it more: "To make sure I don't miss anything and get all the information I need, I'll need to ask you a few questions. Is that okay?"
However you do it, asking permission is a great way to take control of a meeting and having the prospect happy about it.
And this is a lot easier than trying to establish dominance, or getting into that ego battle I mentioned earlier.
If someone won't follow your process, they don't respect you (sorry).
It means they think they know more than you do and they don't care what you need in order to do your job.
They're the same people that diminish your efforts, order you around, ignore your advice, and then blame you when what they want doesn't work.
They're not people you want to work with!
Learning this early is hugely beneficial, because it means you can cut the meeting early and not waste time and energy pursuing a crappy client.
Move on to the next opportunity (because there will ALWAYS be more opportunities).
There we go, four simple tips that combined will help you take control of a sales meeting. No more pushy prospects, no ego battles, no desperately trying to shout out your qualifications to justify your opinions.
Just a simple mindset shift, along with some questions, and you're there.
And of course if you don't actually have a sales process, maybe check out the Sell by Helping course 😛