This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
The best part of being in front of an opportunity is that it gives you the chance to let your dream client teach you how to pitch them.
What questions would you ask if you wanted your client to help you come up with your pitch? What would you change about how you approach discovery work if you went into with the mindset that your dream client would help you learn how to pitch them in a way that makes it easy to say “yes?”
Early in the sales process you get an opportunity to ask questions that will help you craft your proposal and your solution. You get opportunities to ask about the most important factors your dream client will weigh when making a decision. You get to ask about the implications of making certain decisions or making certain tradeoffs. Most importantly, you can ask questions about how your solution is tied to their larger goals—and their company’s business goals.
The more you learn about how to pitch here, the easier you make it to say “yes.”
Floating Trial Balloons
While your dream client is busy teaching you how to pitch them (and while you’re busy learning), you get the chance to float trial balloons.
You get the opportunity to test some of your ideas about possible solutions. More still, you get to hear the language they use when they talk about what they want, why they want it, and what you need to change.
This give and take—you floating the trial balloons and your dream client popping them or letting them fly—you learn what is going to work for them and what isn’t. If you pay attention and capture what you hear, you’ll gain the insights and the language that makes it easier for your dream client to buy from you.
Right Over the Plate
This sounds easy when you write it this way, doesn’t it? But if you’re honest, you don’t really think about capturing what you learn as a way to improve your pitch. You ask all the questions so you can gain knowledge and learn how to help your dream client achieve their business results. But these ideas aren’t mutually exclusive; you can do both.
When you are doing your discovery work, make sure you learn how to help your client how to achieve the results they’re after, but let them teach you how to pitch them too.
What do you capture in the sales process that makes it easier for you to pitch your dream clients later?
Do you capture your dream client’s language so you can use it later to better communicate your understanding?
How do you float trial balloons early in the sales process so your dream client can help you refine your pitch?
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