Did you ever find yourself in this situation????

  • You made the final 3
  • You have a final sales presentation to make to the selection committee
  • The selection committee makes the final recommendation

How do you deliver a presentation in such a powerful way that it effectively locks out your competitors?

This was exactly the situation I found myself in when my sales training organization, Growth Development Associates, was bidding on an opportunity with a large scaffolding company with over 160 sales people. We had met with the Vice President Sales on multiple occasions and knew enough about the sales organization to immediately present specific solutions back to the selection committee.

BUT WE DIDN’T DO THAT!!!!! Why not???

Because the selection committee was making the decision and we hadn’t met with them………

My boss, the CEO of the company, had a game plan. We had 90 minutes to present and all we brought were 3 slides!!! He was only going to present our capabilities in concert with the needs of the selection committee but we needed the committee to become conversational about their needs in order to address them.

The selection committee was made up of 8 executives of the company. Of course, the Vice President of Sales was on the committee. However, most of the committee was made up of line managers responsible for all of the business activities in the branch offices. They were profit and loss managers for each branch in charge of inventory, personnel, service as well as sales. The winner of this bid would be the company that represented the interests of this group with primarily non-sales backgrounds. How do we get this group to be supportive of a sales training company without having a sales background?

The answer is easier than you think. Get the group to verbalize what they really wanted to buy. This process starts with asking a “very precise set of questions about their needsThese questions are part of a technique we teach at GDA, called “advanced funneling.” Many sales training organization teach you to ask about the customer’s pain. GDA teaches you a five-step process that gets the customer to discuss far beyond just their pain. (A person with a broken arm doesn’t just want the pain to stop… he wants the arm fixed!) Our questioning techniques engage the customer in a joint search to get a full picture of where they want to go. The process is so thorough and engaging that the result also promotes the customer’s perception of you and your company as their preferred partner.

In our presentation to the scaffolding company, after introductions, we spent 90 minutes working with the selection committee in an interactive and creative discussion about their true objectives, and we documented the entire discussion on flip chart pages and posted them on the walls of the conference room. Using well-rehearsed discovery techniques, we were successful gaining absolute agreement and understanding about the customer’s true needs… a picture more complete than the customer had developed without our help. Although, we had not shown any slides and we had not yet presented anything about GDA and its products or services, the customer already wanted to work with us! We summarized this 90 minute segment by asking the committee if the flip charts accurately summarized what they were looking for in their decision.Student_1

Obviously, they agreed. All of the information had come from them. All we had done to this point was ask questions.

We spent the next 30 minutes (Yes, they were happy to let us exceed our time limit.) outlining how our capabilities (using our three slides) directly addressed THEIR requirements.
The key is this:

o You have nothing to sell until you understand your customer’s needs.o You can create preference for working with your company in the way in which you ask questions about their needs.

Our competition didn’t stand a chance………………………………

When we concluded our presentation and were ready to leave the room (of course, asked for the order), we started to remove the 10-12 flipcharts we had posted around the room.

They begged us to please leave the flipcharts behind. That’s when we knew we had the deal!!!!

During the course of the last 120 minutes, we had transitioned from a sales training company trying to sell something to them to a partner that understood their business and had unique capabilities to address their needs.

Well, obviously, we did get the business and over the next year trained the scaffolding company’s 160 sales people on the same techniques and sales call structure that allowed us to convince the selection committee that GDA was the right choice.

During one of our training classes, I asked a member of the selection committee who was attending the training why the committee had selected Growth Development Associates. He laughed out loud and said it wasn’t even close.The other guys gave presentations. You demonstrated to us how the sales process is supposed to work. We wanted our people to be able to do the same thing.

Learn the secrets of the advanced funneling techniques and how you can improve sales call effectiveness for yourself or for your entire organization. Sign up for …………..

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