As someone who does hundreds of speaking engagements a year all over North America and Europe, I spend a lot of time on the road. Every time I pass a Motel 6, I am reminded of the tag line they adopted in the mid-Eighties – “We’ll leave the light on for you.” In fact, for the chain’s 50th anniversary, they began using the motto, “50 Years, the Light’s Still On.” For decades now, the hotel industry has been obsessed with perfecting hardware and software that keep the lights (and HVAC) turned off in unoccupied rooms. Nonetheless, those Motel 6 mottos remain indelibly etched in my mind.
To get the proper takeaways from a meeting, you need to prepare yourself before going in. Here are some tips concerning which questions you should ask as well as a couple that you absolutely shouldn’t:
Rejection is something that every sales professional faces throughout their career. There are some things you can do to prevent it. The first step is due diligence. When you have a conversation with your prospect there are certain ways to figure out if they’re on the fence. Ask them how many energy projects have been approved in the recent past. Ask them about their process. Ask them which of their projects they’ve found to be most gratifying.
Communicating is a large part of selling and we’re often told to be “on message” and consistent when we’re speaking with prospects and customers. The same principles apply to marketing and our online presence, which is the basis for content strategy. This kind of marketing focuses on the “why” of the sale and on keeping the message simple and concise.
There are countless reasons that a proposed energy project might not be approved. Rather than trying to predict which objections might surface during the approval process, ask your prospect to provide you with a sneak preview of what lies ahead: “What barriers have you faced in getting your projects approved in the past?”
If you’ve made a mistake with a client it’s best to fall on your sword as quickly as possible and take responsibility. It’s important for an unhappy customer to feel both heard and validated. It’s also the first step toward finding common ground regarding potential remedies. Any focus on deflecting blame will take a toll on your credibility and reputation. When you know you’re at fault, simply say, “Yes, we made a mistake, and we apologize. Our performance in this case was clearly not in keeping with our high standards for servicing our customers.”