Translated by William Boletta
You're looking forward to your next customer appointment. Perfectly prepared you'll get ready for your presentation and for the joint development of the optimal solution for your customer. But then you fall into one of the possible pitfalls.
But no worry. In the next 3 blog posts we will introduce you to 13 of the most common Visual Selling® pitfalls and show you how to master them professionally and with skill.
1. Your customer does not understand the “Why” of visualizing the sales meeting
The meeting starts and during the conversation you start to visualize. All of a sudden, your customer looks at you confused. He can’t understand what you are doing and why you are sketching out what has been said. After all, he expected an entirely ordinary conversation. You probably have not adequately prepared your customers for the meeting and your approach.
So, you need to explain all over again: It’s about having more transparency for him, a better common understanding of the current situation, and the representation of connections in a BIG Picture. With this brief statement, your customers will quickly recognize the benefits of this and end up being excited about the high productivity of the meeting.
In order to avoid this problem in the future, point out your approach to your customers when you are planning the meeting. Describe exactly what you are going to do, why you are visualizing things, and how this can be useful to your customers. Explain that images can be used to avoid misunderstandings, facilitate a mutual understanding more quickly, and thus increase productivity in your dialogue.
Once the meeting has started, you can again describe the procedure and the progression. Your customers will now have an opportunity to ask questions about the method and understand it better. At the same time, they will immediately be able to see how it actually works and eventually see that the evolving image is actually supporting the conversation.
2. Your customer wants to see the product slides beforehand
Your potential customers ask you to provide some general idea about your product or solution to see if it might be right for them. In a situation like this, customers will often ask to have your slides in advance in order to be better prepared.
With a sales conversation, it can be fatal to comply with this request directly. Your customers will merely focus on the features. They will already be forming a mental image that might not fit with your solution. For you, this will mean a lot of work later on so that you can show how you will work individually with your customer. This will often mean that you are simply answering questions about unresolved issues. You will lose control of the conversation, and steering it back on course will be quite a job.
To work against this, you have two options: 1. Don’t send any materials in advance. 2. Send abbreviated content that doesn’t really reveal anything.
If you go for Option 1, explain to your customers why you are not sending slides and materials in advance. Also tell them that you carry on individual conversations with all of your customers. And just as your customers are individuals, so are your materials. That’s why you do live visualization during the conversation so that everything can evolve, and the outcome will be an exact fit for all your customer’s problems. Send this as a response.
With option 2, prepare a visualization that arouses interest, but doesn’t give everything away. And then add something about the topic that will arouse your customer’s curiosity. Then you will have a win-win situation Your customer will be happy and so will you.
3. Your customer has only enough time for a short call
You would like to schedule an appointment to present your offer to your customer, but he tells you that that he has no time at all, and maybe you could explain what you are going to do over the telephone.
Your customer obviously doesn’t have enough time to talk to you, so it is unlikely that they will be able to hear what you have to say during a brief conversation. It is clear that at the moment your customer can’t see the benefits of what you have to offer and so doesn’t want to invest any additional time.
So, take advantage of the short time you have during the phone call to find out exactly what is bothering your customer and what the real problem is. You can do this by asking appropriate questions. For instance, you can use the Visual Selling® Discovery Punch to do this. You can download it here.
The goal is to convince your customers that your solution will be able to solve their problem. If you are successful, they will now find the time to talk with you and will make an appointment. And this will take less time than they probably think it will.
Tell your customers how this can work to their advantage. And also make clear that the meeting will be accompanied by visuals. Explain that the visualization will contribute to mutual understanding by avoiding misunderstandings. This means that the conversation will take less time. You will be able to make everything clear—and all in just 30 minutes.
4. You have no information about the meeting facilities
Your meeting or workshop is going to be in a location that you are not familiar with. Even your direct contact doesn’t know anything about the rooms and doesn’t know the particulars. This can be especially challenging if it involves a marketing workshop with several people where you plan to work together on finding solutions.
In this situation, see if you can get in touch with someone in Facilities Management who can tell you about the room layout, the equipment available, and the connections. Once you know all this, you will be able to get ready for your appointment. If possible, ask to see some pictures so that you can have an even better idea of the layout. Send your checklist of requirements. You can download a template for this here.
But if you are not able to find a contact person, or if your customer can’t meet your needs by the time of the appointment, you will just need to be ready for whatever happens.
Be sure to take along any adapters and cables that you might need. Maybe take along a small projector and possibly plenty of extension cords and power strips. And you will definitely need a conference camera so that you can quickly connect with colleagues at other locations. Here you can download information about what else you will need in your emergency kit.
With all this in hand, you should be able to make a presentation in whatever space is available.
These were the first four of the 13 most common Visual Selling® pitfalls. The next two blog articles will continue.
Do you know any additional pitfalls or do you have other solution ideas? Then write in the comment!