A few weeks ago I attended the Techweek conference and sat in on a great panel called Selling for Entrepreneurs 101 about selling your company as well as your product. Panelist Jennifer Morehead, CEO of MoveBoxer, wanted to emphasize how important it is to persevere through any situation, no matter how bleak it looks. If you think a meeting or phone conversation went poorly and left the trail cold, don't give up just yet. Selling is not about a single conversation; no business interaction is ever black and white where you either have it or you don't. Business is all about relationships, so if you had a bad meeting, follow up and try to smooth things over. Even when your business involves cold calling, keep the conversation as warm as possible. Make sure the person on the other side of the phone knows that this is about them and not about closing a sale.
Panelist Chris VanKula, founder of The Big Playoff, shared a great story about sticking to your guns and making it all about the client. Chris was visiting a firm that was in the process of re-upping their contract with their current consulting firm. He figured he had already lost his chance to sign them that year, but decided it was worth it to start a relationship that could possibly help land him a deal in the future. He ditched the slides he had prepared and instead talked to the executives about their current relationship with their existing consulting firm. It turned out that these executives had some reservations about this firm, which was asking for too much and locking them into a yearly contract. By the end of the day, Chris, who among other benefits could offer a month-to-month contract, had convinced the executives to sign with his company instead of the competing firm's.
I felt like this story exemplified what's needed most to close any deal. If you truly want to do business with someone, make sure that you show them that their relationship is more important than the sale.