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When I was in high school, I ran track. During my sophomore and junior years, I ran the 1-mile race. Though I normally like to take the lead early, I really wasn’t entirely focused on a “great start” because I had 5,280 feet to make up for a slow start.
During my senior year, I ran the 880-yard event. Not a sprint, not the exhausting 440, but certainly a little more demanding of speed and a good start than what I needed when I ran the mile. I had half the distance to make up a poor start.
My best friend was Neal Stevens. Neal ran the 110 high hurdles. He has zero time to make up for a slow start. And I don’t recall Neal EVER having a slow start. His great start and his ability to time the hurdles perfectly was awarded in the state championships in 1973 when he won the gold medal in that event.
This concept applies to many things in selling, but especially when it comes to meeting, engaging, qualifying and eventually attempting to close a new piece of business. I know that most of you, if not all of you, have heard the expression, “You only get 1 chance to make a great first impression.” I am convinced of that adage as well as you only get one chance to conduct a great first meeting that improves your ability to close a piece of business.
If you think about the reasons you didn’t get a piece of business or secure an account over the last year, what are some of the reasons?
- Price too high
- Not talking to the decision maker
- Didn’t provide the exact solution to match the prospects problem
- The incumbent relationship came back and matched your offer
- The incumbent came back, begged for the business, and promised to do better
- You didn’t know about the competition
- You didn’t understand the decision making process
- The client was looking at other alternate solutions
This list is pretty long and probably close to all-inclusive. So, why do we get these objections at time of close?
It all comes back to the first meeting. Each and every one of these items can be and should be addressed early on. Certainly most of them should be addressed in the first meeting because this helps you “disqualify” the suspect early so that you can get to those suspects that will qualify. I understand sometimes this information may come out as you develop the relationship and work to determine if you want the business and can get the business. You may not get to all of these items in the first meeting, but all of this information should be known to you prior to presenting. If these are the objections you are going to get to buying from you, deal with them before you do all the work and invest all of your time going to underwriting, preparing proposals and practicing your presentation. Negotiate all of the potential objections up front so that, when you finish, you can simply ask, “What would you like to do now?”
As always, thank you for reading and have a perfect day.
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