When you take yourself away, you hurt yourself
Sitting in a sales meeting with a VIP at a company I would love to have as a client.
You know the one. The pretty big deal who would make a great addition to your core set of clients? A nice and pretty feather in your cap?
I was INVESTED in this deal
I had been working this deal like a good job.
I had traveled for hours to meet in person.
I looked my best, and I was prepared.
Things looked good
As we started to talk about how we could work together, this lovely VIP laid out the landscape. She shared with me how her systems weren’t working – how she wasn’t meeting her goals. (A-ha! I could help!)
THEN…Two really bad things happened.
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Things took a turn for the worst
First, she said to me: “We don’t have budget for another solution AND I don’t have buy-in from my senior management to make any changes. It’s just not important to them.” (In other words, I CAN’T BUY ANYTHING FROM YOU)
The second thing she said was even worse. Next she said, “OK. Pitch me.”
For a moment I could barely see straight
I was SO annoyed.
When she said “PITCH ME” – I was just floored. Here she was, completely wasting my time AND forcing me to be some small person who was going to give her a spiel. UGH!
Somehow, I regained POISE and PROFESSIONALISM
I remembered what a very successful friend of mine once told me, “Sometimes you will have to take the OFFER off of the table, but NEVER take yourself away.”
So, I paused and put myself on HER side of the table. She was in pain and wanted some help. I had nothing to offer. Not her fault.
I told her. “I have nothing to sell you. If you don’t have the budget and your managers won’t agree, then we don’t really have anything to talk about just yet.”
Then I laid out the plan
“I would love to have another conversation when you have more support from your execs and they see the value in putting money behind your efforts. Is there anything I can do to help you get that?”
She agreed that there wasn’t.
I stayed with her
When all of me wanted to storm out of her office and make her realize what a waste of time our meeting was and how badly she had insulted me, instead… we talked about other things.
We spent the next 15 minutes talking about personal stuff. The sales conversation was closed, but our relationship wasn’t.
Now, I’ve never sold to this company
And neither have any of my competition, but she speaks well of me in our circles and we are friendly, and – who knows – Well, you just never know.
The moral of the story
Bring dignity to the sale.
Stand up for yourself. You are not a trained monkey with a canned approach. It would have been ridiculous and demeaning if I had given my well-prepared presentation.
Yet, love that other person UP! This VIP would NEVER have wasted her time with me if she didn’t need some help. I couldn’t help, but I could be her friend.
Take your offer away, but never take YOU away!
Love ’em UP!
The Irreverent Sales Girl