Contributed by Neil Fishman, Co-Founder
I recently had the opportunity to pitch my company’s audio marketing solutions, specifically our core service, affordable Message On Hold, to a well-known financial institution with a sizeable number of branches. The prospect of adding a new 100 + multiple-location, high profile client to our roster always gets my adrenaline going, and this case was no exception. Having spent my share of sales experience in numerous conference rooms within this business sector, I anticipated that my presentation might be met with a less than progressive mindset.
As expected, the collective “old school” mentality hit me like an overdose of bad cologne, and I could cut the "business-as-usual" attitude with a letter opener. What could I say that would stimulate this ho-hum audience on a rainy Monday morning?
Nothing…(as in Chorus Line)… I said nothing. Instead, I ENGAGED them! I had them interact with my presentation so they didn’t fall asleep. I avoided the impulse to begin with traditional introductory jabber: I didn’t sell, explain, demonstrate or advise. This may not seem like a revolutionary concept, but instead of saying anything about me or my company's products or services, I had them read a short paragraph about ROI for a multi-location Message On Hold scenario that matched their requirements. I had them listen to and rate voice talent samples from our roster of professional voices, as well as music themes from our website.
It worked! Somehow those simple activities empowered them, getting them immediately involved in the discovery process, creating an environment of interaction…not one of passive attendance. By the end of the hour, just about everyone at the table was asking questions and exhibiting enthusiasm, and the prospect of doing business evolved from bleak to optimistic. Did I get the sale? Not yet. But as a result of that meeting, we will have the opportunity to implement a trial program at several branches. And that “foot in the door” usually seals the deal!