Is That Your Final Answer?
Now it is time to give your final presentation. It’s time to give your client your final answer. Or is it?
A Second Bite at the Apple
Perhaps you are ready and your story will rock your dream client’s socks off. But maybe it won’t; maybe it needs some tweaking, some adjustments around the edges to make it just right.
Final presentation sounds so . . . final.
Final means that we are done. We have completed the sales cycle and we are turning the decision and the rest of the buying process over to our dream client’s buying committee.
Who says that your presentation has to be a final presentation? Who says your presentation can’t be a First Review, a Draft Presentation, or a Review of What We Know Now, But That We Want To Revise To Make Just Right?
Instead of a final answer, what you really want is opportunity to revise, and re-revise, and re-revise your offering until you get an affirmative answer. You want to stay engaged all the way to the end of the buying cycle. You want a chance to influence events and to move the opportunity in your direction, instead of taking yourself out of the sale.
This is especially true when the sale is complex. When the solution is complicated, when the stakes are high for your client, or when what you are proposing is a major change initiative, you need a chance to dial in your solution. No matter how right your solution looks, the questions that you get in the boardroom indicate there is still more work to be done to make it perfect.
Asking for a second bite at the apple is also a powerful strategy when you are competing for the opportunity against other firms. While they have politely complied with the request to present their solution and are passively waiting, you are still pulling the levers and doing all that you can to make choosing you and your solution over all others the easy decision.
You ask for that opportunity to do so by framing your proposal as something less than final.
Doing so benefits both you and your dream client. First, the odds of you being awarded the opportunity improve the closer your proposal comes to being the perfect fit for your client. The little, nit-picky tweaks and adjustments and all of the major changes you make ensure that you a better match.
Second, all of the adjustments not only make it more likely that you will win the opportunity, they also make it more likely that when you do win that your solution will produce results faster, that your learning curve isn’t so steep, and that your execution is all around better.
Sometimes you will find that you are way off base. If your presentation were your final answer, being far off base would be irreparable.
If it isn’t your final answer, you can always ask for a do-over. You can take additional time to collect additional information, to gain access to the people who can help you make the adjustments that you need to make, and to take the time to dial your solution in a lot tighter.
Pass out paper. Pass out pencils. Pass out highlighters. Review the proposal as a group with your client. Ask them to draw lines through anything that doesn’t work for them. Have them highlight what they love. Ask them to take a red pen and circle what makes them crazy and what has to go immediately.
It might be a little off the wall, but you can make it playful enough to make it fun. Whatever, they won’t believe that this is your final presentation, will they?
- What does the presentation mean to your clients in the way of your sales cycle and their buying cycle? How do you reframe that so that your presentation isn’t where you part ways for your dream client to make the decision without you?
- Think back over some of the deals that you have lost over the last few months. Which of those deals could you have moved into the win column if you would have had the opportunity to revise your solution and your presentation before the decision was made?
- How does your client benefit by allowing you a second bite at the apple? You need to know this because you need to sell it. Is it worth waiting a day or two to have a solution that fits them perfectly instead of choosing the best of five proposals, none of which was exactly right?
- How would your client benefit from choosing a partner who is conscientious and diligent enough to measure a few times before cutting? What does that indicate about your desire to produce the right results?
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