One of the key things I teach and provide strategy for with my clients is the consulting/small business sales process.
This involves critical (and proven) steps for moving opportunities forward with corporate decision-makers after the first discovery meeting. Once the discovery meeting is over, you want to keep building that relationship because it sets the tone to start building business inside an organization.
Firstly, congratulate yourself for getting in the door! Now you want to be extra careful as you proceed.
Make Sure You Tick All Your Sales Process Boxes
It’s funny but I think it’s almost human nature to want to be ‘natural’ and not be overly methodical when preparing for client meetings.
Here’s what I say about that. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners!
Let me share a story about what recently happened to me with a promising prospective client.
I recently met with a small start-up company. I had a great discovery meeting with 2 of the key stakeholders where I uncovered what I thought were their key needs and learned about their quite complex business and sales process.
The next step we established was to meet with the CEO for a deeper discussion around how I could support them to grow their business.
In preparation for this next meeting, I put together a Discussion Document (what I call my Ultimate Secret Weapon). The purpose of the Discussion Document is to summarize what I heard in our initial discovery meeting, to take a dive deeper into their needs and then start co-creating a potential solution together.
However, since we had such a great first meeting and I felt so confident and how I could help them, I veered off my typical process and put together my “preliminary recommendation” of all the great things I could do to help them.
Then the day of my next meeting arrived. This time, I met with the 2 original key stakeholders along with the company CEO.
At the end of the meeting, the CEO looked at me and said, “This is all great, Kim. But you haven’t addressed my need!”
Don’t Jump Ahead to Recommendation
It’s critical to engage ALL key stakeholders in the needs discussion and ensure alignment of stakeholders around their needs before proposing a solution.
I teach this stuff! And this experience was an amazing reminder of just how important it is to be diligent in the sales process.
Be Willing to Go the Extra Mile
I hope you take my lesson to heart.
Never skimp on any step in the sales process or assume anything. Get your facts straight, be consultative, and that will go a long way to your potential clients viewing you as their Trusted Advisor.
Have you had a similar experience with new prospects? If so, I’d love to hear your story. Feel free to comment below!
© Kim Chernecki
Kim Chernecki is CEO and Founder of Freedom Street, a global training and coaching company that helps high-performing consultants, coaches, freelance executives and other experts land lucrative corporate contracts. She is the creator of the Land Corporate Contracts Fast-Track System, and is a top-rated sales performance executive, facilitator, coach, advisor, speaker and strategist. A 25-year entrepreneur, Kim has consulted with executives from 100+ leading North American and Fortune 1000 companies and has, herself, started up and helped grow 8 businesses and business divisions.