It’s the meeting AFTER the meeting where your sales live or die. In the breakroom, meeting room, office, or hallway, what’s your prospect team doing? They’re talking about you. It’s rarely a “yes” or “no” statement. That’s a declaration. The short comment on the side is where your sales process moves forward or dies quietly. However, if you know the conversation is going to happen, move your message into every meeting, phone call, and email. It will change the conversation you are not in.
1. Size Matters
There is a concern that someone at the buyer’s table has – you’re the wrong size. Maybe you are perceived as being too big of a company to handle their business. Maybe you are perceived as too small without the resources to provide good support. There is always the concern the size is not significant enough for the top-shelf team because another larger client will suck out the best resources. Size may not matter to everyone, but it matters to someone on that team, which means everyone on the buying team will hear the concern.
You need to convey they are in your top five priority accounts and how you will allocate resources. This way, you can tell them they are important, but neither overwhelming nor unimportant.
2. Timing Matters
Yes, later…this is the hopeless spiral of a sale not happening. All types of excuses can be made, like:
- “After we finish the reorganization”
- “When we are fully staffed”
- “I want to do this, just after the new systems upgrade”
Yes, later…that’s code for NO. The background conversations sound friendly and supportive, but they’re not. If you cannot overcome this timing issue and push forward to an earlier date for agreement and implementation, move this opportunity out of your sales funnel and back to prospecting. You will have to start over when the mythical date for consideration or agreement happens.
Demonstrate your past success when working in parallel with other important initiatives and incomplete teams. You have already been given the “if/then” yes. Now, the sale is about convincing the buyer of how.
3. Weight Matters
How big is the sale you are selling? Not just in dollars, but in the changes that will need to be made inside of the company to whom you are selling. How many of their people will it require? In product sales, there the switchovers from current providers, the burn-off of the inventory of the previous vendor, education for users of your product if is different rather than cheaper than your competitor, etc. If you sell services, that has sticky leftovers and new horizons. Services are often customized if you are replacing internal systems and approaches. If you are replacing a competitor, it can be even messier.
Show in the weight and how you can accommodate them in diagrams and timelines, as well as talk about the ease of the switch.
4. Friends Matter
You can’t have too many friends. Behind-the-back conversations are not just for buyers. You need to have your own friend(s) to talk with. Often, we make a mistake in that we believe the important conversations in the background are our own. No. The engineers from your team talking to theirs, the ops people talking with theirs, and so on. Peer-to-peer conversations often yield more information than a sales professional talking with their executive buyer.
Big sales are not bought alone, so don’t sell alone. As soon as possible, get a peer-to-peer session established. The friends and connections produced in that session are one of the secret weapons.
The coin of the realm in big sales is information. Whoever has the most and best information wins. You need to know what’s being said behind your back in order to shape the message you present to the prospect.