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The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 14, 2018 • Issue 18:05:01


If you can pitch to one, you can pitch to a group

What if you're about to set an appointment with a prospect who has expressed great enthusiasm for your offerings, and then you find out the individual you're speaking with does not have sole decision-making power but is, instead, part of a five-member team that will determine whether you'll receive a yea or nay?

First, do not panic or become discouraged. Keep negative emotions in check. Having more people to convince means you'll have more work to do. However, the work is far from overwhelming. With a little planning, you can easily impress an entire team, according to Paul H. Green, author of Good Selling!SM:The Basics.

"Just because you need to get the 'yes' from a group of people rather than one doesn't mean it will be harder," Green wrote. "It's still just one 'yes' and you still need to overcome the same obstacles."

Six tips for presenting to a group

Green also offered the following six steps to ensure your pitch to a group of decision makers will be effective:

  1. Find out the names of the players and what they do, so you can make your product attractive to each person. For example, the manager will be happy that closeouts are easier; the salesperson will be pleased that the checkout time is faster; and the owner may be attracted to the lower cost of equipment.
  2. Make sure you notice how each person is introduced and addressed. Find out if the company uses last names or only first names, and follow their protocol. Remember, the same rules may not apply to the boss as apply to everyone else. For example, maybe everyone uses his or her first name except for the boss.
  3. Find out who is boss of whom. Knowing who has the power in the organization will help you if two of the decision makers have opinions that conflict.
  4. Find out the history of the decision makers. This is along the lines of number two. The person highest on the totem pole isn't necessarily the one who has all the clout. Watch for human dynamics. If everyone agrees with the boss, you know who you need to convince.
  5. Make certain you find out about any decision makers who are not present. Get their names and positions and see if you can find out why they're not present. Try to get something to them in writing.
  6. Find out what each person wants, and be sure to ask the quietest member questions. If anyone is too quiet, he or she may have concerns that will not be voiced until you leave. Make sure you hear all objections before the group meets without you.

Green added that you don't need to be a psychology major to present your service to a group of people; you just need to be observant.

And as always, it's important to do advance research on the company and its culture and imagine how the people you're about to meet think; clarify beforehand what you will promise during the presentation; don't overwhelm your audience with data – keep it simple; invite interaction; let them know what the next steps are; and above all, keep your attention on your prospects, not on yourself. end of article

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