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Customer mum after first meeting

Sales gurus,

I wish 'had known such forums much earlier! My ignorance, despite "google"!

I am a techno sales aiming to become a sales pro.
Yes, have been making rookie mistakes.
Pls help me with this sticky situation.


3 weeks ago I had a first-face-to-face meeting with a big corporate acc. It was the first time they were looking our value prop and product demo (went smoothly) also! It quickly turned into their engineering team shooting plenty of questions, which we answered and also made a summary doc and passed on to them the very next day. I also very clearly heard their VP asking the
engineer to ask all tech Qs before leaving the room. VP was
there till the end of the demo/pres and due to lack of time at
the end (which we regret we should have noticed in advance)
left the room.


My Q: I am mad at myself of not making second appointment on that very day and now we are having a heck of a job to get their attention back and the second appointment. Their admin doesn't pick up calls, their VP went silent, their enthusiastic engineer went silent all of a sudden after we sent the real technical docs he requested. We have no clue how they all are looking at our value prop.
 
I will be deeply obliged to any tips on getting the second meeting.
Or atleast a way of knowing what's in their mind!!  Whether to
spend more time with this customer or move on? Cant pull out my hair enough why all-of-a-sudden they went silent?

Thanks a million in advance. - by softseller
Boy haven't we all had this happen... except Ace and Gold maybe... :)

Me being a rookie, probably won't have the best advice for you, but I like closure. For me closure is knowing that I've been dead and buried. I unfortunately would more than likely waltz right in and ask to see the decision maker and ask for his help.

I would not be above sending in a personal note with his secretary challenging him to be a man of honor and let me know where I failed or what I needed to do to move forward face to face.

I have little in the way of imagination, but if this was the start I gave myself, this is how at this point of thinking about it, I'd probably handle it.

Good luck with this.

Much Aloha,

Tom shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Softseller, paste this on the inside of your forehead with blinking lights. EVERY step in selling must CONTAIN a "commitment" objective to reach the very next step.

Otherwise you are merely fragmenting an opportunity into often irretraceable steps.

That said, Rattus' advice on repairing your mistake is sound. - by Ace Coldiron
rattus and Ace are addressing honesty and commitment. I would show myself as a man of honor insending that note AND getting and making commitments along the way doing the same.

Without mutual trust and respect most things fall apart.

MitchM - by MitchM
Hey you have provided some great information for us to help you with. Please forgive me in advance if this advice comes off as preachy or too abrupt. I'll just get to the point. Here are my thoughts about your situation...

YOUR QUOTE: "It was the first time they were looking our value prop and product demo (went smoothly) also!"

COMMENT: Never assume it's going "smoothly" until they purchase from you. Don't just make your presentation about benefits, also ask some questions about some of the roadblocks ahead. Even a general question such as, "You've seen what our product can do. At this point, what would stand in the way of doing business with us?"

YOUR QUOTE: "It quickly turned into their engineering team shooting plenty of questions, which we answered... and also made a summary doc and passed on to them the very next day..."

COMMENT: Why provide this information without knowing if this will bring you closer to a conclusion? Next time someone asks you for more information or a summary ask them, "Sure Bill, I understand you want this information. Let me ask you something, what would happen if I DID make up this summary you are asking me for? ANSWER: (Hopefully) "Then we'd have a deal!"

YOUR QUOTE: "I am mad at myself of not making second appointment on that very day."

COMMENT: You SHOULD be mad at yourself. You did all that work but violated the number one rule in selling. ALWAY KNOW WHAT THE NEXT STEP IS! Just ask while they are picking up their stuff. "So gentlemen, what is the next step?" If they say we'll call you back then ask them, "Really, why do you think you'd have an interest in our product?" SET ANOTHER LIVE APPOINTMENT! There is no room for emails or fax in closing a deal.

YOUR QUOTE: "We have no clue how they all are looking at our value prop."
 
COMMENT: Why didn't you just ask them how they are looking at it?

SUMMARY: Never wonder why things didn't go good while you are in your car at the end of a call. Clarify everything BEFORE you leave the appointment.

P.S. Don't feel too bad, everyone starts out where you are right now. The day you get mad at yourself is the day you will start to improve. I hope I didn't come off to abrupt with you. Good stuff though keep sharing with us! - by jcrisara
Thanks a million for all the excellent feedback!

I am making a checklist and a
Template based on the above and shall followit always rigorously.

A follow up Q: anyone have expertise in getting early customers to a startup? If any from DFW TX,
Pls PM me. I would like to sync-up with you talented folks! - by softseller
Soft, when you offer to present/demo, you need to make it part of a process. Never "go in blind", always position your offering in the best possible light by following all the steps in your sales process. In fact, by presenting your offering without full knowledge of the decision-making environment, you might be making the competition more appealing.

Before agreeing to demo ensure that you have concise answers to this sort of question:
1) "precisely what will your group want to see"; "who else will be in attendance (titles, mandates);
2) "which features which will be most appealing to the group (so that you can drive home the benefits)";
3) "where are you in the budget cycle";
4) "who else will be involved in the decision";
5) "what will you do with the information presented during my presentation"; "what will be the next steps";

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Great comments Pat. I completely agree. You must create an expectation that a decision should be made immediately following your presentation. Have the mindset that you a least deserve an answer after all the hard work you did in learning about your customer and their issues.

And most importantly ask these five words at the end of your presentation: "SO, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?"

Be prepared to ask at least 6 times for a conclusion. Remember that you don't get paid for presentations, you get paid by decisions. Yes or no is fine. However if it is a NO then hang in there and ask more questions about how you lost the deal? Your ego is not your amigo.

Joe Crisara
ContractorSelling.com - by jcrisara
I would be clear on objectives. Look at the sales cycle as playing a hole of golf. You each stroke leads you closer to the pin. Just as in golf you have to use strategy to select the right club and swing etc. The same goes in the sales cycle. The answer to both is practice and feedback. Good for you to seek counsel.
In regards to Joe's comment above, I like the idea of asking a question, like what should we do. But I feel you yourself should already know the answer. If you do not get an answer that clarifies ask a new question. I think that the "where do we go from here" at the end of a call should have been handled at the beginning. If we ask enough of the right questions we can find out exactly what next steps are and agree to them before we even start the presentation phase. I use verbal contracts on call all the time. Starting a call with, I want to create an agreed upon outcome with a definitive next step. This also removes any friction later.
Best of luck
Chris
chrisyonker.com - by chrisyonker
Softseller, paste this on the inside of your forehead with blinking lights. EVERY step in selling must CONTAIN a "commitment" objective to reach the very next step.

Otherwise you are merely fragmenting an opportunity into often irretraceable steps.

That said, Rattus' advice on repairing your mistake is sound.

This is golden advice. - by cs80918
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