Coaching sales teams – avoiding Murphy’s Law

Today we helped facilitate a teleconference between one of our clients and a potential customer.  The client has breakthrough process approaches that help their customers improve their ROI.   The prospect was looking for ways to scale their business.   Two days before the call, we held a “pre-call” to test our messaging, review prospect objections and very importantly, test internet connections, web conferencing connections, which example web sites we would use.  On the day of the meeting I called 15 minutes early to make sure everything was ready.   We tested each one of these things again.   The sales manager bought freshly made tacos for the delivery team to entice them to leave their day-to-day work so that we could present the best possible capabilities to the prospect.  Everything for a major client presentation is important.  Our client company was not accustomed to bringing in the entire delivery team on call as well as the sales team.

You might have heard the old story about having an extra projector bulb for important presentations.   Today, the equivalent check list might look something like this:

  1. Test the teleconference connection and pass code from different locations in the country
  2. >Test the web conferencing system from different networks, locations, and firewalls. Practice, when relevant, passing control between different presenters smoothly using the conferencing software.
  3. Determine who will speak first, who will do introductions, who will present web sites and PowerPoint, where relevant.
  4. Create a list of FAQs and rehearse your answers to them.
  5. Encourage team participation on the call, rather than letting one person from your firm do all the talking. Sometimes it might be better to have technical staff deliver the answer – even though they may not be the polished sales person, coach them on listening skills, empathizing with the customer requirements and concerns, and help them be participants in the call.  Your customer will appreciate this because after the sales person gets the contract signed, it is the delivery team they need to work with day-to day on the project.
  6. Multiple reviews and quality checks.  Have more than one person review the presentation for accuracy, spelling mistakes, etc.
  7. Determine what you will do if your prospect asks for an unplanned demo of a technology or solution capability.  Will you accept the challenge on short notice?  If so, who will show it and who will speak to the solution?  DO NOT show unrehearsed customer solutions where confidentiality or unexpected results might cause you to be embarrassed and risk the sale in front of a new prospect.
  8. Make sure you understand the goal for the meeting or expected outcome.  Is the team getting past an initial meeting?  If so, do we want to ask for a follow up meeting or on-site visit to continue the discussion at a deeper level and build the relationship?  If so, state this to the team in the pre-call so everyone knows what outcome you are intending.
  9. Think about chemistry issues.  Will  the decision maker at the prospect company relate better to a senior female executive?  Are there common interests, sports, hobbies, etc. that mean that the young technician will have a better dialogue on the requirements document with the prospect?  Be ready to be a facilitator but to take a back seat and let the team members bond in a way that builds a relationship that will have lasting positive impact with the client.
  10. Send a thank you note. Email is ok but a personal letter and phone call is better.

When you are doing client presentations prepare, rehearse, and prepare again.  www.noworldborders.com sales, marketing, business development expertise has helped many growing companies.  We can coach your delivery and sales team on the things that might require only slight adjustments in their approach that can help yield major gains with clients or shorten the sales cycle.

Michael F. Arrigo

Michael is Managing Partner & CEO of No World Borders, a leading healthcare management and IT consulting firm. He serves as an expert witness in Federal and State Court and was recently ruled as an expert by a 9th Circuit Federal Judge. He serves as a patent expert witness on intellectual property disputes, both as a Technical Expert and a Damages expert. He leads a team that provides Cybersecurity best practices for healthcare clients, ICD-10 Consulting, Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records. He advises legal teams as an expert witness in HIPAA Privacy and Security, medical coding and billing and usual and customary cost of care, the Affordable Care Act and benefits enrollment, white collar crime, False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback, Stark Law, Insurance Fraud, payor-provider disputes, and consults to venture capital and private equity firms on mHealth, Cloud Computing in Healthcare, and Software as a Service. He advises self-insured employers on cost of care and regulations. Arrigo was recently retained by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding a significant false claims act investigation. He has provided opinions on over $1 billion in health care claims and due diligence on over $8 billion in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Education: UC Irvine - Economics and Computer Science, University of Southern California - Business, studies at Stanford Medical School - Biomedical Informatics, studies at Harvard Medical School - Bioethics. Trained in over 10 medical specialties in medical billing and coding. Trained by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and PTAB Judges on patent statutes, rules and case law (as a non-attorney to better advise clients on Technical and Damages aspects of patent construction and claims). Mr. Arrigo has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Public Radio.

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