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So what happens once you’ve gotten past the lunch meeting and actually secured your first sales meeting? Well, if you’ve gotten the opportunity to present your product/service/company to me, try to line it up for the next time they’re at the production facility and get them to invite some of the business users who could be using your products or services. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Ultimately, procurement people have no decision making power whatsoever. The people that actually make the decisions are the business users that actually use what you’re trying to sell. Procurement people influence that decision, sometimes very greatly, but they do not make the final call.
Generally speaking, I’ll never let you speak to the business in the first meeting. I am fiercely protective of my business users time and I want to vette you and your products/services before you even set foot in the same building as the business user.
Note: This is also another reason why the business lunch is so important. Because if you gain a certain rapport and level of trust with the procurement person during lunch, generally speaking, they’ll let you straight in to present with the business. The thing you have to remember is that during lunch or any meeting they have with you prior to introducing you to the business, they are or should be vetting you. They need complete confidence that what you’re offering isn’t a waste of time for the business user.
If you cannot get the procurement person to agree to bring along the business user, do not despair, just go with the flow and don’t try to circumvent them to get the business in the meeting. As with public speaking, so it is with meeting with a procurement person or business owner, REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE! In your first sales meeting with the procurement person, focus on listening. Ask questions about what my challenges are with existing suppliers and service providers. Find out where my pain points are. Be inquisitive and probe. It doesn’t have to be an interrogation, but you should actually listen to what I say.
When you’re presenting your product or service in the sales meeting, Here are a few tips:
Stand Up and Present
Practice Your Presentation Before Coming
Be Prepared to Have Your Presentation Derailed
Follow these tips 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 rant.
Here’s the deal, your goal for the sales meeting with a procurement person (if you haven’t been able to secure getting the business user) is to get in front of the business user. Don’t try to sell to the procurement person in your sales meeting. All you are trying to do is build confidence in the procurement person that you’re obviously the best choice and therefore should be meeting with the business user to make sure they agree.
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