Sales Meetings

Why you need to stop asking this question in sales meetings

Recently I asked a group of people I was working with in an engineering firm what they think is one of the most overused sales questions of all time.

We were having a conversation about questions you can ask to unearth the other persons ‘challenges’, hopefully getting them to paint a picture of what is going on in their world, and where they might need some help.

They threw a few ideas at me, and eventually I put them all out of their misery and said that “One of the most overused questions in sales meetings is ‘what keeps you awake at night?” I then asked them “How many of you have used it recently?”. Amidst a bit of laughter, at least half the room put up their hands.

HALF the room are asking the exact same question of their clients. And you can be guaranteed that if they are asking it, at least 50% of all other sales people meeting with that same person are asking it too. Now, I don’t have any actual stats around whether this actually is one o [...]

For sales success, don’t put yourself in a box

By Ben Paul

The main aim of many salespeople and those tasked with bringing work into their organisations, is to make contact and then get meetings with the senior decision makers. This, for many, is one of the biggest challenges they face, and even if they get that meeting, they soon find that they have been passed down the prospective client organisation to someone less senior.

So what is it that means the Senior decision maker – often at the C-Suite (CEO, CFO etc) level, doesn’t want to give up their time to you? It could just be the box that you have put yourself in. Do you genuinely think:


This is the single most important part of a great sales email

Every day around the world billions of emails are being sent – quite literally. In 2015, research by The Racadati Group found that around 2015 Billion emails are being sent globally each and every day.

Amongst all of these emails that are shooting all around the place are millions and millions of sales emails. And as I said in my last post, I bet the majority of them are pretty bad – which means that the chances of a decision maker not only reading your email, but then taking the time to reply to it and agree to a meeting is slim.

Unless what’s in your email is pretty darn compelling.

What to include in a great sales email

The way you structure a sales email and the content you include in it is critical. But before you even start thinking about that, there’s an element that is even more critic [...]

Why most sales emails don’t work

Have you ever sent off a sales email to someone you really wanted to get a meeting with but got no response? Or if you got a response it was along the lines of ‘no thanks’ or ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I’ve already got a provider that I’m happy with’?

If you’re anything like most of my clients, then the answer is yes.

Most of the time they’re a bit puzzled by this. They’ll say ‘but our product/service is great, and totally what they need!’. But when they share with me exactly what it was that they sent off, I can tell them straight away why it didn’t work.

Why most sales emails don’t work

The reason why most sales emails (or sales calls) don’t get the response that the sender was hoping for is because they are far too self-oriented. They tell the buyer:

  • Who I am, who I work for, what my position is.
  • What great product/servic [...]

7 signs you’re a sales control freak

To be truly great at sales, you have to be able to hand over control to the buyer.

Whether it’s control of the topic of conversation, control of what and when they want to hear certain stories or information from you, or control of the next steps. Unfortunately, giving up this control can feel counterintuitive to many sales people. The irony is that the more you give away control, the more the client wants to work with you and often the bigger and sooner the sale comes in. But it’s not easy – if it was,everyone would be doing it.

I was recently chatting to a client of mine who told me about a meeting she’d had with a prospective client that she thought went really well. At some point during the meeting, she got wind that there was a project in the offering – so when she thought the meeting was drawing to a close, she pounced.

“Can I send you a proposal for that project?” she said.

She beamed when she told me this story – “I’ve got [...]

The Big Sales Pitch

Post by Ben Paul, Director – New Zealand

I need to talk about my stuff!

I’ve noticed a growing trend across many salespeople and professionals, the desire to talk about what it is we do and what we offer. Deep down, we all know that this is probably something of a conversation killer. Things may have been going along very well and then suddenly, the client or target, is subjected to the big sales pitch moment. Then the person you’re meeting is most likely polite, may even say thank you, that sounds interesting and perhaps even “why don’t you send me a proposal on that?”

If that sounds like your typical meeting or even a successful meeting outcome to you, be warned it isn’t. It is most likely that the client has asked for the proposal to store on file, or as a polite way to end the meeting (see this post on the dangers of jumping to your solut [...]

Stop focusing on closing sales and start getting curious.

Post by Ben Paul, Director – New Zealand

There’s a classic scene in Glengarry Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin gives his version of an inspirational sales speech. It’s anything but and if you do watch it, be warned the language is strong. One of the main points is that salespeople should follow their ABC:  A – Always; B – Be, C – Closing. It’s scary because it’s probably a mantra many follow in some way shape or form. How many interviews for prospective sales people focus around can you close?

However, if you want to build a trusted relationship with your client or prospect it is far better to think differently and re-learn your ABC along the lines of A – Always; B – Be; C – Curious. The key here is to be curious and seek to understand what their goals and aspirations are and what is actually important to them.

This is key to building great rapport with anyone, not just a client. Are you actually interested in the other person? You [...]

5 great things to say at the start of meetings with prospective clients

You’ve only ever got one chance to make a first impression (weird, huh). It doesn’t matter whether you’re going on a date, meeting the future in-laws, going for a job interview or meeting with a potential client for the first time – what you do and say in those first couple of minutes is absolutely critical.

Science tells us that it’s the non-verbals that have the most impact on first impressions (so smile, stand up straight and lean in when you talk), but what comes out of your mouth is next in the first impressions firing line so you’d better make it good. When meeting with a potential client, it’s the first fork in the road where your options are to either become a trusted advisor or a commoditised salesperson.

This is not to say you can’t recover from a bad beginning – you can, but you’ll have to work even harder as you’ve already undermined some trust. When I first met Kathryn (my Marketing Director, but she used to be my client) I was inadve [...]

Do you have a habit of doing this in your conversations? If so, you need to stop.

Image by NBC News via Google Images

A lot of people have a bad habit of doing something in conversations that they’re not even conscious of doing, but usually results in the other person walking away feeling frustrated or annoyed. And I’m not just talking about sales conversations with clients or potential buyers, but business conversations with work mates and colleagues, and personal conversations with friends and family.

I’m sure none of you will be surprised by it, and yet chances are many of you still do it. In fact, many of you will do it in the very next conversation you have.

It’s a habit that I call [...]

What to do when you’re asked for a capability statement.

You’re in a meeting with a current or prospective client, and you think it’s going pretty well. You get to the end of the meeting and just as you’re thinking about how best to wrap it up, the other person says ‘Can you just send me a capability statement?’ (or a brochure or something along those lines).

Nearly all people who are responsible for sales in B2B environments still think this is a good sign. They think ‘YES! They want to find out all about me and my product as they obviously want to buy’. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this is simply not true. Your response should actually be ‘UGH!’ because it’s usually just an easy way to try and get rid of you, and most likely means you haven’t had a great meeting. Think of how often you do this yourself when someone calls you trying to sell you something. How many times have you asked them to ‘send you some details’ so you can get them off the phone?

The principle is exactly the same, ex [...]