So what happens once secure your first sales meeting with procurement? As with public speaking, so it is with meeting with a procurement person, REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE! Understand and speak to their needs and wants!!!
STEP 1: ASK GOOD QUESTIONS AND LISTEN
In your first sales meeting with the procurement person, ask good questions and LISTEN. Ask questions about what challenges there are with existing suppliers and service providers. Find out where their pain points are. Find out what motivates them and their internal drive is for getting a deal together. Plan these questions ahead of time and focus on structuring them in open-ended format so you can elicit more information. You’re not going to remember what to ask. Write down the questions before you go in and reference them in your meeting. When they answer, take good notes! Be inquisitive. Get curious and probe!
STEP 2: STAND UP AND PRESENT
Don’t sit and talk to procurement people about your service about it. This just looks really lazy. Work on implementing good posture to show confidence. Remember, not only are you presenting your product or service, you’re presenting yourself. Procurement people see HUNDREDS of sales presentations a year. Most of them are terrible. It’s easy to stand out if you are prepared.
STEP 3 – DRESS APPROPRIATELY
If you’re presenting in the corporate office and you have an idea of how people dress, dress like that. If you’re presenting to a financial services company, wear a suit. If you have the business user in the group and it is in a manufacturing environment, wear slacks and a golf shirt. You need to be able to connect with your audience.
STEP 4 – BRING SNACKS
You’re far more likely to get a good audience if you bring snacks and coffee or if it’s a lunchtime presentation bring lunch (sandwiches or pizza) and beverages. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I cannot stress how important this is.
STEP 5 – PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION BEFORE COMING
If I had a penny for every poorly delivered presentation because it looked like the salesperson didn’t practice, ….well I’d have a lot of pennies. If you’re not prepared, don’t bother coming and wasting your time and procurement’s time. You’ll look bad and you’ll create a really bad first impression. Practice, practice, practice.
STEP 6 – BE PREPARED TO HAVE YOUR PRESENTATION DERAILED
Procurement people will derail your presentation, be prepared for that. They will ask questions, lots of questions. Answer all of them. And if you do not know the answer, don’t make one up (just write it down and tell them that you’ll get back to them). And sometimes, and this is brutal, I know, if the procurement person is having an especially “mean” day, they will try to trip you up. Sucks, but it’s true. This happens. Prepare a slide deck. Even if you don’t end up using it.
STEP 7 – SUGGEST A NEXT STEP
Don’t wait for the procurement person to suggest a next step. They’re not going to. You need to be prepared with what the next few possible next steps should be.
Follow these steps and your likelihood of success will significantly increase.
But, be patient! The procurement cycle can be VERY long. In fact, it’s probably too long sometimes, but that’s another discussion.