Imagine you are being interviewed for a job. You walk into the room, you set up your projector, and you begin jamming through a number of slides slightly greater than the number of stars on a clear night.
You talk about how wonderful you are. You talk about all the ways you have helped other people. You talk about what you believe are the important things that your interviewer needs to know about you, like your birth place, your parents, where you live, and every award you have won.
It sounds like a bad interviewing strategy, doesn’t it? It is also a bad strategy for a sales presentation or a sales call. When you present to your client or when you sit across from them on a sales call, you are being interviewed.
You Are a Candidate
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you absolutely must present your company using your standard slide deck and when you must share some basic history. Even then, that presentation should not dominate your time with your dream client.
Your dream client considers you a candidate for hire. They are considering making you part of their team and giving your responsibility for some outcome. The reason they need a dialogue instead of a monologue is because they are trying to get to know you. They are trying to make a good decision.
They need to know how you think about their problems. They need to know what you know about helping them. They need gain a basic understanding of what you would do if you were hired. And, they need to know if they can trust youto own the outcomes that you sell.
They want to feel what it would be like to work with you. If they choose you, they are going to be stuck with you for some time; they are assessing whether or not that’s a good idea.
Your dream client also wants a chance to engage in a dialogue so they can share with you information about what they are trying to accomplish. They want to frame questions in a way that gives you an idea about what they believe they need to make certain that you get it.
Your agenda cannot crowd out your dream client’s needs and objectives, whether it is during a sales presentation or a sales call.
How to Interview
To do well in a sales presentation or a sales call, you need to make space to be interviewed. It is helpful to make space for your dream client’s questions and concerns (more space than you might imagine).
Inviting questions invites a dialogue. It deepens your both you and your dream client’s understanding of whether or not you can do great work together.
Going into sales calls and sales presentations with the mindset that you are being interviewed helps eliminate some common mistakes. It eliminates long presentations that crowd out room for anything else. It makes it far more likely that you will engage in a dialogue, asking and answering questions.
More than anything else, the mindset that you are being interviewed will remind you of the outcome you seek: getting hired to do the work.
How would your presentations and sales call be different if you remembered that you were in fact being interviewed?
How would your sales call and presentations be different if you looked at them through your dream client’s eyes, through the judgments that they were making?
Why is dialogue important to your prospective clients?
How do you engage with your dream clients so that they get an idea of what it would be like to work with you?