One issue I find perpetually frustrating is how often companies neglect the goal of their sales efforts: Getting a deal. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence—initiating partnerships and being sold to –—I am particularly sensitive when I see people making fundamental mistakes.
Focus on the goal
The first manifestation of this problem is when people focus on arranging meetings (or calls), rather than qualifying potential partners and seeing if there is a reason to meet. There is no value in a meeting just for meeting’s sake.
Trade shows are a great example of people losing track of the goal. Prior to a major trade show, even if I am not attending, I got multiple meeting requests. Very rarely do people try to qualify whether or not it is worth their time meeting. Given that everyone has a limited schedule, they are potentially not only wasting 30 minutes with me but more importantly losing the opportunity to meet with someone who may need their product.
Also, make sure you are meeting with the right person. I am also often not the right person they should be meeting with at my company yet people still persist in trying to meet. If the area is one I focus on, not only will I not be able to understand completely the value that you are offering but I also will not be able to convey what our company is looking for. By not qualifying the person you are meeting with, or worse insisting on a meeting with someone who is not involved in your product area, you not only waste your time but set up a bad meeting that could hurt your company’s reputation at the partner company.
The corollary to this mistake is not pursuing an opportunity just because the person cannot meet. If you email someone to arrange a trade show meeting and they respond that they are not attending, that should not be the end of the conversation. Just because they are not attending does not mean they do not need your product or service. If you get a response that someone cannot meet at a trade show because they are not going, you should then discuss further your offering and see if it is a fit. The fact that the person even responded to your meeting request suggests there is some underlying opportunity. Continue reading “Getting coffee is not a sales strategy”