Have you ever been in a sales meeting or dialogue with a prospect – when you are the one supposed to be doing the selling – but your prospect knew more about what you were selling than you did?
It happened to me a few times when I was new to sales, and new to industries I had not worked in before.
It’s a VERY bad feeling.
It’s VERY hard to recover from.
…and VERY hard to sell to anyone but the most kindhearted when you find yourself in a position like this.
So what should you do?
This is not a “tips and tricks” article – there is really no magic bullet to get yourself out of the situation when you are in it.
If this happens to you, all you can do then and there is to be honest and curious, not try to fake it, and see if you can keep the conversation going in spite of what is probably obvious to both of you. Faking your way through won’t work in almost all cases, so try to learn, try to preserve the integrity of the relationship, and hope that the person you are talking to is one of those aforementioned kindhearted people. You behaving with honesty and integrity will bring out the best in this rare and wonderful type of prospect. The others almost certainly won’t buy from you, but won’t loose all respect for you either, as they will if you are less than honest here.
But then you leave the meeting and get back in your car, or hang up the phone, or end whatever engagement you were having when this pesky problem came up – what now?
Here again – sorry – no quick fix. The true solution is more along the lines of that boring old trope:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
So how do we prevent this in the future?
The answer is painfully obvious, but getting there seems to be too much trouble for many – so they don’t do it and continue trying to fake their way through.
Do you want to be like that or do you really want to be successful in sales?
If you prefer success, then you need to commit to learning.
To commit to the relentless and never-ending pursuit of subject matter expertise about whatever it is that you sell.
In this case, learning about your products, your services, the business of your prospects, the problems they face, the solutions that solve them, ancillary issues like taxes, shipping, or whatever else apply.
Your prospects will have confidence to buy from you if they feel like you know what you are taking about.
There are no shortcuts for getting there, but like many worthwhile things in life – there is no substitute for putting in the work to do so…
…and the rewards you can start to reap when you commit to doing so.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!