Technical founders and owners often make a real point of being very well prepared with a formal presentation when going to an initial sales meeting.
Through trial and error, I have learned that clean sheet selling can be a much more effective tactic.
I remember the day I went to a meeting at a major healthcare facility and arrived without my prepared presentation.
Panic set in!
Deciding to press on left me with two choices:
I chose the latter, and that meeting was the start of a new and more effective way of selling.
Clean sheet selling can seem intimidating, if you like the security that comes with being super prepared.
However, it is a very effective way of approaching that initial sales meeting, particularly if you go into it with an open mind and a willingness to learn about your audience. You need to be prepared to back yourself. You know your stuff and that means you will be able to communicate what you offer and how that could benefit your audience.
This freer approach is much more interactive and productive; a more formal product presentation runs the risk of losing people from the start.
You shouldn’t be getting into complex descriptions and demonstrations at that first meeting when you have no understanding of how and why that might be of interest to your audience.
In the case of the health care facility, we closed the sale and they became one of our closest and most successful customers. They really valued how we took that time to understand them, rather than just telling them our story with no context.
I continue to use clean sheet selling early in the sales process. And I find that it’s a highly effective tool for fast tracking sales process and creating deeper relationships with customers.