Article 2 – To Get Your Full Value, First Change Your Agenda

This is one article in a series. For the entire series on one page, please see Proven Enterprise Sales Process, Steps 1 to 10 inside this site's Blog Articles pages.
Excellence Essentials, 2016

You've figured out who to talk to (Start Before Your First Call in Sales and Service Excellence, XX/YY/ZZ, Page A.) Step 2 is your chance to make yourself different, to say the right thing to make that person of influence want to work with you for her or his own agenda. How should you start?

First, you've worked for years to get where you are and build what you have to offer. You believe passionately in yourself and your product. It is only natural that you want to talk about it from the beginning.

That is natural but it is wrong. Our attorney has a phrase for this: The "Enough about you, lets get back to me" habit.

To do better, think as a customer. The last time someone was selling to you, did the seller lead with your agenda or theirs? As a buyer, what do you prefer to discuss? When you buy something important do you decide based on the seller's agenda or on your own agenda?

We train people to start with the seller's agenda. To make sales happen faster instead of starting with you, start with value to them. As a customer, wouldn't you respect a salesperson who asked you what was important before the pitch starts? Now, as a salesperson, wouldn't you want that same respect?

How Do YOU Buy? A True Story

I learned this when I put together a $750,000 deal for automation at a media company. I'd worked with the Jim (the key V.P. and influencer) for months. When I sat down to present the detailed proposal, it was an informal and friendly meeting. Almost immediately he smiled, held up his hand to stop me and asked where in the 80 pages he could find the price.

What to do? It may be tempting to make the customer wait until we're ready. As a customer, doesn't that feel discourteous? Jim had become a key influencer in this company by giving and earning respecting. I knew that I should do that as well. I put aside my presentation and asked: "Why?"

Jim grinned and told me that he had a guess and wanted to see how close it was. I asked him to write that down. Jim asked each person in the room to do the same. Then I told them the page to look at. He and most of his staff had guessed just a little high. That was when I knew that I had the sale. I'd listened to him and then changed my agenda to match his. That gave him comfort that he would get heard when it mattered. It earned me the deal.

How Do YOU Sell?
Do You Want A New Story?

Now, take an honest look at how you start your calls. When you walk in to meet an important person in the account for the first time, do you start with:
"Enough about you, lets get back to me"
or
"Enough about me, lets get back to you?"

If you want to be able to move a complex sale to quick closure, start with their agenda before yours. Sounds obvious but lets contrast a typical first call with one that helps you avoid discounting.

In a typical first call you might say:
"Hi Ms. Jones, my name is Peter Meyer. I represent the Meyer Group and we are the world's top new market consultants. We get twice the success of the next guy. We are great! Let me tell you some more."

This works. This gets you the image of being like most other salespeople. You are doing the expected. Now, does it say that you listen well?

In a marketplace filled with typical sales people, don't you want stand out and earn the opportunity to move forward? A call that helps you keep price higher will start more like:
"Hi Ms. Jones. Peter Meyer of the Meyer Group. If you want to reach customers in a way that makes them want to hear more about you, can we start there? What is the most important message that you want to send? With that, lets look at the best way to get it to your audience."

If you find out what is important to your prospect before you present, she or he will see you as fundamentally different from every other salesperson who calls on them. When you start with a conversation, your prospect will see you as a listener. He or she will see you as concerned about your customer. If you project this sincerely, you are on your way to keeping your price at the same level as your value - high. And to speeding a complex enterprise sale for you and your company.
Next: Stop Feature, Function, Benefit selling.

Originally commissioned by and published in Excellence Essentials, Copyright 2016 by the Meyer Group, all rights reserved. To redistribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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